The Ooni of Ife , His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) has been named by Seham Health Care Foundation as The Royal Ambassador and Royal Face respectively in the advocacy against hepatitis in Nigeria.
The Award ceremony took place in Ile-Ife, Osun State at the Health Caravan. The award conferment was performed on Thursday 28th July 2016 by Former Head of State and Goodwill Ambassador of Hepatitis Advocacy in Nigeria General Yakubu Gowon during a ceremony tagged Ile-Ife Free Health Caravan, organised by Seham Health Care Foundation(SHECA) as a flag-off for a 1-week free hepatitis tests and vaccinations for the people of Ile-Ife in commemoration of this year’s World Hepatitis Day 2016.
Professor Anthony Elujoba; the newly appointed Acting Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), and Chief John Agboola Odeyemi were amongst the esteemed attendees.
The Chairman of the occasion and the Chief Medical Director of Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital(OAUTH) Dr Victor Adetiloye described Ooni Ogunwusi as most suitable for the award as he has been contributing materially and financially to the health care of the people of Ile-Ife since he became Ooni of Ife.
As previously documented Ooni Ogunwusi was intrinsically involved in sponsorship of the first open heart surgery in Nigeria carried out by the teaching hospital in April 2016.
Executive Secretary of the Foundation Princess Adepeju Hammed described the foundation as a non-profit making organization dedicated to the development of public awareness, prevention and care for viral hepatitis which according her is preventable through behavioral changes, risk reduction and vaccination if the disease is early detected.
The Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewale represented by a Consultant on Viral Hepatitis of Yakubu Gowon Center Dr David Nwedu emphasised on hepatitis as a deadly global disease that has affected more than 500 million people chronically with most of the victims not detecting early. The Minister further explained that over 20 million Nigerians are living with either Hepatitis B or C or both and about 600 victims in Osun State.
General Gowon while thanking Ooni Ogunwusi, urged people to come out for the free hepatitis tests and vaccinations as health is wealth.
The former Head of State also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to firm up the ailing economy to alleviate the suffering. He also berated those in government positions who divert the public money meant for health care or other public basic needs with reference to the ongoing alleged “budget padding ” in the National House of Representatives. He therefore called for stiff penalties for anyone found guilty to serve as a deterrent to others.
Advising Nigerians to cooperate with the Buhari administration, he said the Buhari administration was doing everything possible to resolve the nation’s economic challenges.
He said: “Let the current authority find a way out of the current economic crisis. Minister of Finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has been telling us what they have been doing to get the economy strong again. She said all will be well by September. Let’s wait till then.”
“I left government a long time ago, so I may not really know what the problem is. The current administration should do whatever they can to solve to economic challenges. They should find a way to restore confidence in the citizens and the nation at large by fixing the economy.”
Ooni Ogunwusi quantified the honour of Royal Ambassador as very valuable and masses oriented one that will motivate and challenge him to do more for the masses especially in the health sector. “this is no ordinary award but a reminder of his commitment to progressive Nigeria and not just Hepatitis free Nigeria but a healthy Nigeria.”
“Why should we be busy amassing wealth, beautiful houses, and acquiring exotic cars when there are millions of our people out there who who cannot afford basic healthcare for themselves, several of them do not even know they are having viral hepatitis in their system? “.
The very emotional speech ended with a promise to put in the best morally, financially and materially effort in his usual character now as Royal Ambassador for hepatitis Advocacy in Nigeria.
While the 1-week free hepatitis tests and vaccinations continued till Wednesday 3rd August 2016 attracting thousands of beneficiaries daily, the flag-off ceremony was climaxed on the morning of the second day Friday 29th July 2016 when the newly crowned Royal Face of Hepatitis Advocacy in Nigeria, led hundreds of volunteers including the National Vice President Society of Gastroenterology and Hepathology In Nigeria(SOGHIN) Professor Dennis Ndububa and some Yoruba film celebrities like Kemi Afolabi, Murphy Afolabi, Yomi Fabiyi, Funke Etti, Ayanfe Adekunle(Monsuru) on a 10 kilometer health walk tagged “walk for life promoting healthy liver” around the town marking the world hepatitis day.
In a chat with the pressmen during hepatitis awareness walk it was communicated that a very good foundation for a hepatitis free Nigeria is laid. The Royal house pledged to do everything in capable to support the foundation and ensure the goal is achieved. The Royal house concluded by admonishing the well meaning Nigerians to join hands with the foundation in its quest to free the nation from the hepatitis which was described a deadlier disease than HIV Aids as it takes collective effort to achieve such.
Chairman of the Foundation and Obasewa of Ife Chief Agboola Odeyemi, The Acting VC of Obafemi Awolowo University Professor Anthony Elujoba, Vice president of SOGHIN Professor Dennis Ndububa, representatives of Roche Product Ltd, Zolon Healthcare, Philip Pharmaceutical Ltd, GSK Nigeria Ltd, Sanoli Pasture Ltd and all the Ife kingmakers led by Obalufe of Iremo-Ife, HRM Oba Idowu Adediwura also graced the occasion.