By Oluwafunke Ishola
Lions Club International says it has impacted over 274 million people globally as of February 2022 through its various interventionist health, environment and empowerment programmes.
The club’s former International Director, Mr H.O.B Lawal, disclosed this on Friday in Lagos during the Lions Day celebration with the theme: “NGO’s Impact on Global Health.”
According to Lawal, Africans account for 15.4 million of the 274 million people reached by the club, adding that 3.12 million people were served in the areas of diabetes disease interventions.
He said that 1.2 million were reached with childhood cancer interventions, 12 million were served with vision programmes, 2.56 million for hunger relief; environment accounted for 2.57 million, while youth empowerment accounted for 4.7 million.
“The above narratives are just a summary of the impact of one NGO (the Lions of MD404) on Health in Nigeria.
“This, therefore, leads us to the conclusion that the scope and intensity of global health challenges are so enormous that no single country or agency can work alone to meet them,” he said.
According to him, the theme of the event is apt, considering the plethora of COVID-19 induced deaths and health challenges bordering on poverty and hunger.
“Here in Nigeria, apart from COVID-19 induced challenges, we have also experienced the seemingly intractable Boko Haram insurgency and other social unrest like kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry, cultism, in the last 10 years,” he said.
To contribute to shared global health objectives, Lawal said NGOs should partner with various international agencies and institutions to shape, fund, implement and evaluate global health policies and programmes.
Also, Mrs Omolola Anobili, Multiple Council Chairperson, Lions Club, said that Lions’ collaboration with the UN dated back to 1945 when Lions’ leaders assisted to develop the UN NGO Charter.
Anobili said that since then, both organisations have cooperated on many humanitarian ventures including Sight First and the School-in-a-Box programme.
According to her, the club had served humanity for over 100 years in areas like sight preservation and restoration; measles eradication, diabetes awareness, pediatric cancer, among others.
She said that the club would continue to be a beacon of inspiration, hope, and a supporter that makes a difference in the communities and lives of people globally.
Prof. Wale Oke, Provost, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, said that global health focused on research and practices that prioritise health improvement, reduction of health disparities and protect against global threats that disregard national borders.
Oke noted that global health emphasised problems that transcended national budget, but had political and economic impact globally.
He noted that in 2020, Lions Club in different countries assisted with COVID-19 response through the provision of medicine, foods and relief packages.
According to him, the club donated N5 million to the Lagos State Government COVID-19 response against the pandemic.
Oke noted that NGOs in many countries had become alternatives to public sector service delivery and brought solutions to longstanding development issues arising from government’s inefficiencies.
Similarly, Dr Memunat Esan, Cluster Consultant, World Health Organisation (WHO), Lagos Office, said that Lions Club had partnered in several WHO programmes on sight prevention, childhood cancer, among others.
Esan said that the club had given about seven million dollars in grant to establish pediatric eye centres in several WHO regions, noting that 46 of such centres were functional globally.
Also, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele, said that no government had the resources to undertake all its developmental projects.
Salako-Oyedele commended Lions Club for its strides in improving access to healthcare for citizens, noting that Ogun state had benefited immensely from its medical outreach and interventions.
She added that the state would strengthen its partnership with the club to make life easier for its people. (NAN