After a most engaging week of delivering healthcare to the under-served and indigent in Lagos, Syd-Monic Foundation concluded its third annual Medical and Surgical Outreach on Sunday, October 17.
Dr Anthony Ejike Anigbo, founder of the outreach and Medical Director of Syd-Monic Hospital which is located around Ago-Palace Way in Okota, Lagos was on hand and always available to deliver service. Also available to attend to the throngs of patients was his confident looking and apparently highly energetic team who did everything to ensure that every one who came got medical attention.
By the sheer number of people reached, this year’s programme was an improvement on the two previous ones. A total of 922 Nigerians participated. During the inaugural outreach of 2019, there were 500 participants while in 2020, a total of 800 people attended.
This year, Syd-Monic Foundation did eye screening for 146 participants. There were a total of 52 surgeries done. These surgical procedures were successfully carried out on patients according to the following statistics: Fibroid-11, Thyroid Surgery-5, Hernia Repair-11, Undescended Testes-2, Lipoma-13, Excisional Biopsy-3, Male Mastectomy-1, Breast Lump-1, Cataract Surgery-1, Appendectomy-3 and Herniotomy-1.
A lot of free screening and checks were done on participants. These included Blood Sugar Check, Herpatitis B Screening, Blood Pressure Check, Weight and Height Check and Cervical Screening. Participants also got free antimalaria drugs, hand sanitizers and multivitamin tablets. Children were given multivitamin syrup.
INTERVIEW WITH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SYD-MONIC FOUNDATION AND CHIEF NURSE OF SYD-MONIC HOSPITAL,MRS. MARY ANIGBO
People&Power: For how long has this foundation been involved in this outreach.
Mrs. Anigbo: Thank you very much People & Power. This programme called Syd-Monic Foundation Medical and Surgical Outreach started in 2019. The idea was conceived in 2019 when the Medical Director who is also my husband (Dr. Anthony Anigbo) and I had our 10th year wedding anniversary. We also wanted to mark the hospital’s 5th year anniversary. We wanted to give back to the community that has hosted us since inception of our hospital. It was initially a 5-day event from Monday to Friday. We had over 500 participants in the maiden edition and conducted over 50 surgeries with highly subsidized rates. I mean up to 80% discount was given for fibroid surgeries, hernia surgeries, and thyroid surgeries putting into consideration standard medical practice without compromise in any way. We are not making it for financial gains. It is to help the community, to reach out to those people who cannot afford healthcare. 2019 was a huge success despite its challenges as it was our first outing. We had a lot of people lauding the event saying we could make it more regular. So we sat down with other directors of the hospital and decided to make this outreach an annual event. The hospital had to get a subsidiary (Foundation) to post the event. The first event was done majorly from our pockets, but under the umbrella of the foundation, we can get funding from well-meaning Nigerians to carry out this event. That was how Syd-Monic Foundation was birthed. In 2020, we had this event which was a huge success. We had over 800 participants who had free blood sugar test, blood pressure checks, free access to see a medical doctor, free registration etc. But some people complained of not being put into consideration as they work on weekdays, so this year’s event is from Monday to Sunday. We decided to start the event this year on October 11 as our Medical Director marks his birthday today. This is because this outreach is his idea and funding is majorly from him. I want to use this opportunity to say Happy Birthday to the Medical Director, Dr. Anthoy Ejike Anigbo who is also my husband.
Do you get support from the private sector or the government since this is a non-government organization?
We still hope for grants from the government. This year, we were able to get two drug companies to support us with products. That is why more drugs will be given free of charge this year. Drugs like anti-malaria, multi-vitamins, paracetamols, worm expellers, cough syrups, multivites for children courtesy of Evans Baroque Pharmaceuticals. We also got support from Frank Phyno that supplied us with anti-diabetic drugs and multivitamins. We also got a few friends that supported us financially as there are patients that could not pay for surgeries even at the highly subsidized rate. The funds cover what they would have paid for their subsidized surgeries. We also got great moral support from our staff.
What have been the challenges encountered since the medical and surgical outreach began?
The original idea was to perform these surgeries absolutely free of charge but we still do them at highly subsidized rate. Our major challenge is pegging a particular amount for surgeries. We have had reasons to increase the fee of some surgeries because of the current economic realities. Cost of consumables, cost of medical supplies have increased so we had to mark-up the prices of some surgeries. For the medical side, drugs. Most of the drugs have remained at the same price. We started eye screening last year which was highly successful and we conducted a lot of cataract surgeries. Because of inflation, we had to increase the price of eye screening and cataract surgeries. We started dental screening this year as we partnered with a dental clinic.
One of the beneficiaries of this year’s highly subsidized surgical procedures, a middle-aged woman, could not hide her joy when she spoke with People&Power reporters. The woman said she had a fibroid operation for N130,000 instead of amounts ranging from N500,000 which she had been told in many hospitals.
As she put it: “Money was the reason why I lived with this condition for many years. I have not participated in this programme before. This is my first time and I am so happy.”
Another participant, Mr Emmanuel Obiago said he was at the outreach to do general check up. He also participated in last year’s programme. He told People&Power : “There is a lot of improvement in this year’s programme compared to last year. There are no delays. Patients are being attended to promptly. I think the organizers are very serious with what they are doing.”
A member of the team who is also a staff of Syd-Monic Hospital, Mr Chibueze Ozioma Nwadinobi confirmed that the programme has recorded great improvements. As he put it: ” We are really progressing. We can liken our progress to that of a child. We crawled in the first edition. We sat in the second edition and we are currently running in the third edition. We hope to be running by the fourth edition.
Talking about the response of the community to this year’s outreach, Nwadinobi said: ” Wonderful. They were expecting this year’s edition. They had been making enquiries as to whether it would hold and we assured them. They were even those who suggested that this year’s edition should hold for seven days, Monday to Sunday to accommodate working class people.”
INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDER OF SYD-MONIC FOUNDATION AND MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF SYD-MONIC HOSPITAL,DR ANTHONY EJIKE ANIGBO
People&Power: Please can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Dr. Anigbo: My name is Dr. Anthony Ejike Anigbo, Founder of Syd-Monic Foundation and Medical Director of Syd-Monic Hospital.
What has been your motivation to continue this outreach?
My motivation has been prayers. Prayers we get from people who we perform their surgeries successfully. We receive a lot of prayers each time they come for their dressings or check-ups. Prayers and appreciation are some of the things keeping us going.
There are a lot of sick people out there who cannot access healthcare. It is just like we are reaching out to the poor who need this healthcare. Free and subsidized healthcare encourages the poor to come for the outreach. Their prayers and appreciation keep us going.
What are your expectations for this outreach?
My expectation is that from Season 4 and 5, everything should be absolutely free. We subsidize medical healthcare for up to 80%. We want a situation whereby we get people who will key into the same vision we have, philanthropists to partner with us for us to run this program entirely free.
What do you think the turnout of people will be for this year’s edition?
By God’s grace, we are looking at over 1000 participants. It will be a plus for us.
What are the challenges?
Funds. The vision of this foundation is to make most of these surgical interventions as free as possible. The fact that the foundation alone cannot bear the burden of making the outreach absolutely free, we have challenges of having philanthropists, people that will support the program financially to make it absolutely free. Another challenge is getting colleagues to assist and partner with us because not everyone shares in your vision. But by God’s grace, we are able to surmount the challenges.