Adenike Okurinmeta is a professional social worker that is passionate about the healthcare and well being of Nigerians. Through her NGO, Youth Care Project that runs Clinic at Your Door Step, she has saved many Nigerians from dying of HBP and HBS. A well travelled person, editors of Newdawnngr.com made up of Tunde Abatan and Charles Okogene, executive and deputy editors respectively, ran into her at Matogbun/Lambe community during her community health care round recently and this interview ensued.
She spoke on the challenges of primary health and why government should focus more on it by supporting community healthcare NGOs.
Excerpts from the Interview:
How did you come about this?
I am not a lousy person. What I am doing is supposed to be projected to the whole world,however, I belief that in life when there is time for something to happen one thing will lead to another that will make it happen. When people see what we are doing or have done, they will say ‘wao’, you are doing this and NGOs that does nothing are projected all over the place by the media.
I call tell you authoritatively that I owned the concept. I am the initiator, it is my concept; it is a concept supported by God.
My NGO is basically about youth care,and people use to ask if this thing is about youth care, how come community health care is not there. And part of youth care,we use to have youth friendly clinic. The problem with young people is that nobody listens to them. Nobody is listening to them. They are spectators when they are supposed to be actors. So every event that concerns them, they are not in charge. Somebody somewhere – uncle sister, brother, daddy or mummy is there for them. At times they want to say something but they cannot say it because of the authorites that surround them. And this leads to their health issues; even when they have ordinary malaria. Before you know it,if they visit hospital,somebody will say ‘mo ri omo yin’ (I saw your child) maybe she is pregnant. This and that. So,the fear of what what people will say about them, do not allow them to patronise hospitals. Instead they will nurse the ailments on their own; they will not go to any hospital, instead they will go to chemist that will dispense drugs to them and this will lead to many things when they are old. So what we came up with was the Youth Friendly Clinic concept. We have a big centre at Ondo State. At that clinic our nurses and doctors are trained on how to relate with young ones. That clinic is for young people in Ondo not for old people. But when we got there ,the clinic at Bolorunduro in Ondo East, we discovered that there is no clinic there, non for both adults and youths.people started coming to our clinic. Each time I visited from Lagos, I will see old people there but as a social worker, I will not send them away. We now told them not to come again,that the clinic will come to them.
But before we start any project, we carry out research .
So we carried out studies in Kwara, Lagos,Ogun and Ondo states; Prof Shoyombo of UNILAG was my consultant. After the research we started the Clinic at Your Door Step. We started taking all these apparatus that you see, nurses, doctors, pharmacist to them. We used that to stop them from coming to the youth Clinic. And when we got to them, we discovered that they have so many health issues. Some with HBP, HBS. And the worse is that some of them do not even know they have such. They just say we are sick and before you know it they will say the person was killed. The person is dead. They kill her. When we started giving them drugs and what we do is what they call drug revolving scheme. That is, you with small drug, you give them, they pay small token and you use that money to replace the drugs you have given out. Because if it is consumable there is no way you give them without replacing it . So, that is how we started and when we got to Lagos, I visited a friend and she was like I should call one of my nurses to check her and we discovered that she wàs having 200/110 very HBP and she did not know or was on any drug. That was when I said since you people have refused to be visiting primary health centres, that is where I want the ministry of health people and I look at, maybe it is the building that is scaring them away.the only time you see them there is when they want to give birth. At the community level, the only time they go is when it has turn to crisis. For example,when we worked at Mosan Okunola in Lagos State. Government built a health Centre there. When we worked there on May 29 2016,people beside the health centre were having very HBP, HBS,yet there was a clinic beside them. Then, I just said that we cannot allow our people to be dying that we must do something. Those that studied community health are working in private hospitals in Lagos instead of going to the communities. And their primary assignment is to be doing what we are doing. That is what Prof Koye lived and died for. Government at all levels must take our healthcare seriously.
Our people are dying of common aliments.
Madam, you have talked so much about your NGO and the concept. What is the name of NGO?
Youth Care Project.
Which year did you start?
What is the reception so far?
The reception so far has been wonderful
From the people and government?
I enjoyed a lot of support from Ondo govt; right from the the days of late Gov Olusegun Agagu to Mimiko but you know that NGO is still new in Nigeria. We start with them and there is no way we will not fight because of disagreements on concepts. We are in Nigeria and I do not want to dwell on that. But one thing is that there are so many things the government ought to be doing with our money that will have direct impact on the people. I told you that we will be going to Ondo State. My centre in Ondo is as big as this hall we are in Lambe. We train people on how to make Adire, all sorts and I have the Youth care clinic I talked about. But you know it is funding. We are NGO. We cannot trade.Government ought to be supporting us.
Apart from the small amount people pay for drugs, what are your other sources of fund?
It is only God and I. I must be sincere with you. It is only God and I that are supporting this project. Two people only came in last year as directors. They are also supporting me but this thing is passion. If you do not have passion for something forget it. With passion you can go it alone. The little I got from the government in the past, I plough back into the project.