High Chief Dr. O. B. Lulu-Briggs, OON, DCF, DSSRS
On Saturday September 21, 2019, The O.B Lulu-Briggs Foundation opened yet another chapter in its goodwill programmes as it launched a much needed lifeline for women, the under writing of surgical operations and rehabilitation programme for 100 uterine fibroid patients.
The project is part of activities marking the 18th anniversary of the O.B Lulu-Briggs Foundation.
Welcoming guests to the event which held at the Foundation’s Pavillon, the chairman, Dr. Mrs. Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs, the event was the first since the passing of her husband, High Chief (Dr.) Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs, who joined his ancestors in Accra, Ghana on December 27, 2018. A minute of silence was observed in his memory.
In an address read on her behalf by the Foundation’s spokesperson, Mr. Franklyn St Oraye, the Chairman noted that, “On September 21, 2001, I formally announced that I had established the Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs Foundation. I did so to honour, celebrate, structure and institutionalize my husband’s prolific giving. High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs’ love and commitment to humanity shone though his charitable and philanthropic acts, that broadly categorized, equipped, empowered and enabled people, particularly the most vulnerable and under-served, to live full, purposeful and dignified lives. He also provided funding which built and supported institutions that secure people’s spiritual and material well-being’.
Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs, Chairman, O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation
She pointed out further that, “We are gratefully humbled that today, we can look back at 18 years of programming and appreciate the impact that we have achieved in touching and improving health, well-being and livelihoods in our communities because of High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs, our grand benefactor’s boundless generosity. We trust that God will continue to enable this foundation to work for humanity. We wish to acknowledge all the people and entities who, have supported our work over the years. We look forward to your continued partnership and encouragement”, the foundation chairman stated.
Explaining the choice of the anniversary focus, she said it is a response to an identified need among women in the communities.“We are talking about uterine fibroids. Why intervention in fibroids? Earlier this year, at the Medical
Mission we hosted from May 20 – 24, 2019 in Bakana, ultrasound scanning services were amongst the diagnostics set up. We were surprised by the number of women who found out that they required urgent fibroid surgery. However, due to the nature of the surgery and after care requirements, we were unable to provide fibroid surgeries during the mission.We promised the women that we would cover the cost of the fibroid surgery and after care they required’.
Dr. Rosemary Nkemdilim Ogu
Throwing further light on the driving force behind the programme, she explained that in the process of planning for the treatments, it was observed that about 80 percent of women over 50 have fibroids and about 30 percent of this group will develop symptoms, such as undue discomfort of heavy and painful menstrual bleeding, premature labour, miscarriages and even loss of fertility.
‘We decided to mark our 18th anniversary by shining a light on and addressing the many myths and beliefs about fibroids in our communities through a month-long fibroid awareness raising campaign.This is in keeping with our commitment to raise public knowledge about diseases which are prevalent in our communities. Past health awareness campaigns include Parkinson ’s disease (2010), Prostrate Cancer (2016), Kidney Disease and Diabetes (2018). We also routinely support vision care clinics with a view to promoting good vision for all and to raise awareness and help to prevent some of the conditions that regularly impair the sight of people across the Niger Delta”.
Oraye St. Franklyn
According to her, the foundation has always gone beyond words to acting on societal problems.
“A hallmark of our health awareness raising campaigns has been to go beyond just words and to find points through which we can encourage people to take actions that will help the information remain useful to their communities, long after our information sharing campaign has ended. We felt that the fibroid surgery is the most common treatment women with fibroids in Nigeria are prescribed’. Thus was born the fibroid surgery and after care to 100 women who need urgent surgery, but cannot afford the high costs associated with it.
The 18th anniversary project is being carried out in collaboration with the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital and the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.
Cross section of doctors from University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and Rivers State University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital
Dr. Rosemary Ogu, consultant gynecologist at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, with extensive knowledge about fibroids was guest speaker and dealt extensively with fibroids – causes, prevention and treatment options.
The O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation with nearly two decades of extensive reaching out remains an operational foundation with a mission to enhance the quality of life for the under-served in Nigeria. Its programming in 2001 which started with an innovative elder care initiative, Care for Life Programme for the Elderly, has identified and catered for over 500 poor, sick and neglected senior citizens in Rivers State. To date, the programme provides medical care and pays for care givers to look after those who can no longer
Guests at the lecture
care for themselves. It also delivers monthly food supply and unconditional cash transfers. In addition, the elderly in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Rivers State, have access to nutritious meals (Monday to Friday), healthcare, and social events at the purpose built Biokpo Recreational Centre.
The foundation says positive impact for the Care for Life Programme’s health component encouraged the establishment of a medical missions programme that would enable it provide medical services to larger numbers of underserved persons, working in partnership with medical service providers and other well-meaning citizens wishing to key into its programmes.
The Foundation’s Medical Mission Programme started out as the Care for Life Quarterly Free Medical Week in Abonnema in 2005. Since then, 128,833 men, women and children in rural and peri-urban areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers and Rivers States have received access to quality health care services and health awareness education free of charge.
The Foundation has also responded to huge unmet demand for ophthalmic care across the Niger Delta by taking vision care clinics to communities, to promote good vision for all and help prevent conditions that routinely impair sight. The Foundation also promotes preventive health through awareness raising campaigns and covers the costs of specialized medical treatments for individuals from indigent families.
Through its Access to Clean Water and Sanitation as well as Special Initiatives Programmes, the Foundation has helped to improve social infrastructure at the community level by donating portable water supply, schools and health centres to communities. No less than 27 communities in Rivers State have gained access to potable water through its efforts.
From Left: Mrs. Mabel Gold Ogolo,
Woman leader S/South Chiefs and
Elders Forum Association of Nigeria
and Mrs. Gloria Odori, others
Dr. Rosemary Nkemdilim Ogu in her lecture averred that fibroid,’..denies you growth, it has no use, it’s not useful, there is no use for it but it happens. We don’t know how it happens and that is the issue with it, we don’t know the cause of fibroids. So many researches been done on it but till date, we don’t know what causes fibroid but, we do know that there is something wrong in the gene, and then we have the genetic factor to the cause of fibroid.. We also look at the hormones as part of the problems of fibroid because when there are no hormones, there are no fibroids. And so, from age 0 to about 15 you will not see someone with fibroid, as hormones then are very low.
She explained that from 55, the fibroids begin to shrink as the estrogens decrease in the woman.
“Also, after 60 any fibroid there shrinks. From 55 years, the fibroids shrink because the hormones are no longer there. The hormones are called estrogen and progesterone”.
The consultant explained that fibroid is essentially a black African problem so, are best treated within the continent.
High Chief (Dr.) Omubo Atuboinoma-Harry JP, National Chairman South-South Chief & Elders Forum of Nigeria (2nd right), other chiefs
“She pointed out that more often than not, symptoms of fibroid do not manifest early and advised women to check with medical experts for early detection which will take care of complications.
“Fibroid is terrible thing for somebody that does not know and so I’m joining O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation to tell you, let’s take action. Take action, don’t live with it, you are not supposed to live with fibroid, take action., What you will do is to make the diagnosis, find out if you have it; how you find out if you have it is to talk to a doctor, talk to a medical personnel, give a history, the history that talks about the problem to the point that this is fibroid that you are talking about”, Dr. Ogu advised
High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs was noted to have been committed to enabling all round him to live full purposeful lives. Accordingly, the Foundation’s other programmes. – Education and Scholarships, and Microcredit and Entrepreneurship Programmes equip people with skills through awards, scholarships, scholarly/technical training and entrepreneurship/business development. Micro and small businesses also receive working capital and business equipment.