Bethel Mercy Mission, a non–governmental organization has organized a one-day free medical screening for the aged in Alajo and its surrounding communities in Accra.
The exercise was part of efforts by the NGO to assist the aged especially the disadvantage to cope with the decline in health and change in social life that comes with aging.
The event which was held at the premises of restoration Baptist church at Alajo was attended by over 200 aged people who were screened and diagnoses of one disease or another.
The chief executive officer of Bethel Mercy Mission, Rev, Esmeralda Kuttin-Nuamah said, the NGO came about as a results of a revelation she had somewhere in 2014 when she was in America where God showed her the challenges and problems the aged face in Africa.
She said, “the revelation that the Lord gave me was very traumatic that time, assuming their struggles pertaining to how their livelihood especially financial and the picture that was given me was a vision and especially in the developing countries they have no health insurance, some of them are abandoned some of them too are marginalized and then also the government is more into children, pediatric but they are not looking more into the aged, their problems and their issues.
So the word that I heard may sound religious because I am a pastor so sometimes it is very difficult for me to explain it into the secular part like he has come down to solve their issue and I am like or no it can end in Ghana or Africa how am I going to do something like that
She said it sometimes looks like foolish to her so she was struggling with it for like two (2) years and “it burdened my soul that I wanted to share with some of my friends in Ghana and they were like oh they will help me and I had that connection with them so I wanted to help the poor marginalized aged and 60 plus specific.”
According to her, the name for the mission too was given and she had a lot of promises and being a Christian and a pastor, the Lord gave her a scripture in Genesis 28 about Bethel the promise that God gave to Jacob on the ladder that angels were ascending and descending, “I was also given a promise. So we were supposed to look at the aged, see that they have a holistic life. Holistic life in the sense that, we try to sort their family life, see how they live and get them out of their marginalized life and give them like a fulfilled life. We are not so much into giving them the gospel immediately but if they are ready and we see that they have the readiness then we can give them the salvation message. You see in this particular mission, you see there are Muslims in it so it is for all human races so they are all in it, they are all aged”.
Rev. Esmeralda further explained that the word poor was also described to her in her vision, saying that “Poor is not let’s say the financial poor but poor in many sense, loneliness is also poverty, such that they have been abandoned. Aged people are abandoned because the family has left them alone. Some of them are left alone in the morning and attended to in the evening where they won’t give them food or even any personal care. They are not given anything to drink or hydrated and the family have gone to work and left them in darkness in a dark room and then they come back from work in the evening and the children have gone to school, it is a type of poverty. Poverty in the sense that health wise, they don’t even money to pay for their health issues.”
She explained that per the revelation, poverty means they cannot communicate and tell the problems they have.
She aid: “may be dementia whereby they even bind them as witches and wizards and they end up in certain camps and they are even abandoned or thrown away so they really have a lot of challenges sometimes and we don’t look at that corner.”
She also averred that “Considering ourselves, by the time we are aware, we are sixty (60) years and have retired and not even knowing where we are going to live with our children. It should not be a must that we must be reliant on our children rather we should plan the time we are younger.”
“Who is going to take care of us when we are old and we look into these things when we have the chance to and prepare for our old age, where we are going to lay our heads so that we do not become a burden on our children. Most of us are a burden now because we didn’t plan very well.”
She said the NGO has been embarking on several community help projects among which is the provision of health insurance cards for the aged and paying for their other bills.
The CEO revealed that the biggest challenge she faces is finance and staff who are mostly volunteers.
She said the NGO needs full and permanent staff who will be on payroll.
“We do counseling too. Sometimes when we are doing the screening they come with their household and we can’t drive them away but we have budgeted for four hundred and the whole community is here, so it becomes a community something and nobody is helping. We have a pharmacist and the doctors involved too are very young, none of them is old because they are the very ones that will take over this NGO.”
The NGO also offer legal talks aside the health talks, Eye screening.
Dr Matthew Tettey who is the head of the medical team for screening exercise and one of the subscribers, said the NGO has been organising general medical screening for the aged for over three (3) years now at least three (3) times in a year.
He said, the aim was to meet the medical needs of the aged who are mostly abandoned and marginalized.
“We try to screen for common illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and other basic medical conditions that may come about. For today, we have come to meet cases of very high BPs, hypertensive emergencies and people under hypolastimic states we try to control them and give them first aid medication and in some cases we had to refer them to nearby clinics to help them drop down their high blood pressures. Today we have seen about 150 aged people, most of them are mainly hypertensive just a few were malaria positive patients as well.”
Dr Matthew indicated that the NGO periodically, have medical talks, mostly by me and sometimes we invite other specialists to involve.
He also explained that lack of funds have been a major problem facing the smooth running of the project and added that putting the medical team together has been a challenge.
He called on the general public, to as much as possible love and care for the aged.
“Accra is just the beginning we have other towns as targets to be there and meet the needs of the people so we will ask that people support us in any way that they can as they can all see this is what our youthful contribution we have been able to come up with this. Whatever we get, we invest in the insurance, glasses and al that for them so the money is used for and accounted for. We will ask for financial support.”
BY: PROSPER AGBENYEGA