A good product, they say, sells itself. But first of all, it has to leave the warehouse, get introduced to the people through persuasive advertising to enable them have a taste and make the proper recommendation for public acceptability. After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
This strategy is flamboyantly called profile-raising in public relations. But profoundly speaking, it is one of the precepts of the golden rule with a scriptural basis in Romans 10:14, where it recommends persuasive publicity for salvation albeit its importance to mankind.
It reads, “but how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
Let’s pause awhile, take a deep breath and ask ourselves these self-reflecting questions thus:
How will the septuagenarians, octogenarians, nonagenarians and centenarians in Uturu, Isuikwuato local government area, know that they have access to free medical care if we do not tell them? How will they appreciate the benefactor if they do not know him?
For 20 years and counting, the Chancellor of Gregory University, Uturu, Professor Gregory Ikechukwu Ibe, OFR, has not only provided a healthcare facility in Uturu to sustain the lives of our vulnerable senior citizens but has been doing so gratuitously.
“I started my NGO in 1991. Then, Uturu had only two doctors. The World Health Organisation (WHO) standard ratio is one doctor per 1000 population. So, I felt the need to raise the bar.
“There was a youth ‘corper’ from Bayelsa who was managing a small Catholic clinic. I told him not to go back to Bayelsa, but wait behind and let’s start a clinic together. I wrote to the other clinic that they should treat anybody from 70 years and above and I’d pay at the end of the month,” Prof. Ibe said.
He added, “for me, my hard-earned money is for society and the people of Abia, Igbos and Uturu.”
The last we saw this type of nationalistic patriotism was during the first republic in 1960; the era of healthy competition among our political progenitors — the late Tafawa Balewa, the late Nnamdi Azikiwe and the late Obafemi Awolowo, just to mention but a few.
Considering the success achieved then, in education, economy, healthcare, unity and agriculture, we need not be told what the future holds for Abia state and her citizenry at the emergence of Prof. Gregory Ibe.
He is a master of healthcare management. His desire to revolutionise healthcare the same way he did in education and entrepreneurship propelled him to proceed to the United States to understudy their health insurance scheme and how their institutions support healthcare delivery.
“My objective is to see how I can manage healthcare delivery for Nigerians to benefit from. So, when I came back, I was one of the people who were leading HMOs.
“I wanted to revamp the Nigerian Health Insurance Scheme, but they put someone there who tried to mess it up. Till today, we’re not getting the benefit of that insurance.
“Today, because they didn’t have enough health management officers in Nigeria, they made it health maintenance officer. They brought banks and insurance companies to man the position without understanding that we went to school for it. They bastardised it and called it NHIS,” Prof. Ibe said.
However, instead of sitting idle complaining and apportioning blames, Prof. Ibe has started the construction of a 1000 bed teaching hospital that former President Goodluck Jonathan described as one of the best in Africa.
This state of the art teaching hospital that will be commissioned soon will address the lacunas in our healthcare system.
Aside from the recent pledge of $1 million endowment to COVID-19 research, Prof. Ibe, also, through Gregory University Uturu College of Pharmacy, the Department of Pharmacognosy and Traditional Medicine produced COVID-19 prevention medication.
The head of the department, Dr Thomas Chukwunedum Okpuisi, said they have developed antidotes for the prevention of COVID-19 after looking at its progression from the point of settling to the point the sickness manifests.
“We developed the Sniff-Sniff for the nose, where it stays for about four to seven days and Adonis Yellow, Herbal (inaudible) and Malaria Hot to tackle in the trachea, lungs, other body organs and the blood system.
“So, if you take Sniff-Sniff which is the first line of attack against the virus, it will take care of the virus in the initial stage. If it is already in the secondary stage, you have to complement it with Adonis Yellow which boosts the patient’s immunity.
This is mindboggling. Is the Abia State of our dream still achievable? With Prof Gregory Ibe, the answer is yes. It is good news we must preach having Romans 10:14 as a guide.