Thursday, May 12, 2016


I met the answer to that very frightening and scary question, in a cute, light in complexion, courageous two years old boy today. His name is Usman Mahmoud Abdallah. You see, this innocent child has fought a battle most would dare not imagine and yet he survived it. He had gone under the knife as the popular parlance goes, in far away India to fix something very critical in the life of every human being; his heart.

This kid is one of the several children diagnosed with congenital heart problem and just about a month or two ago, he could not even sit on his own. His case was so bad that upon arrival at the hospital, out of the 14 patients that were sponsored each along with one of their caring parents for medical surgery by MTN Foundation in its Health Intervention Project for 2015, the doctors after testing to confirm he is fit for surgery started with him first.

Thank God, the operation was an instant success and so his mother who went with him informed that the rest of their 3 weeks stay in India was more or less like a mere vacation. And by the time they returned home to Nigeria, then after a day or two of another medical attention in Lagos, they arrived in Kano. Upon sighting his eagerly waiting father in the airport lounge, he bounced off his mother’s arms and ran to the waiting hugs of his teary eyes dad.

Well, today Saturday 13th February 2016, I was opportune to meet him and the feeling of being part of that life saving story via our Kwandala Foundation was so, so special that goose pimples overwhelmed my whole body. I have had many experiences of fulfillment for the act of touching one life or another, in one way or another through the philanthropic Kwandala spirit, but this one really floors them all.
Also it was one of the most cherished moments of my broadcasting career of over 28 years so far, hosting him and his very excited and happy parents. Their joy and happiness was absolutely contagious. Most especially his grateful mother, who I am sure can not thank MTN and God Almighty enough for saving her first and only child from the merciless trauma and agonies only a mother who loves her child most dearly could understand. And that is indeed a most profound, most touching experience.

And though he could comfortably walk now, but his loving father carried him chest high as they stood before the microphone to respond to my emotion filled inquiries. How did they get to connect to the MTN Foundation Health Intervention Scheme? The child’s doctor heard us on the MTN sponsored program MTN Y’ello Soundz on Freedom Radio, calling on behalf of MTN Foundation for applications from less privileged parents with kids below the age of 16 years that have surgical cases beyond their financial capability to bring them forth for medical assistance.

And because most of such poor families lack the basic knowledge of how to go about processing such life saving requests, thereby getting most of their applications rejected, Kwandala Foundation, an NGO based in Kano, decided to step in by guiding and assisting such parents to fulfill all the requirements necessary for them to meet MTN Foundation criteria for approval.

As a result of these little efforts by this NGO, over 1000% success rate was recorded in the number of cases that were approved by MTN’s social responsibility arm, its MTN Foundation. This is in comparison to the last time such a health intervention scheme was staged by MTN Foundation in 2012, where only 3 patients benefitted from Kano and not more than 20 were able to scale the hurdles in the whole of northern Nigeria.

But this time around, of the first batch of 44 applications we help these innocent children process and send from Kano and neighboring states, 33 were able to meet the requirements for assistance by MTN Foundation. Nine (9) of these kids were scheduled to fly to India from Kano in the initiating trip. One of them however died before the journey could be embarked upon. Kwandala Foundation had since joined MTN staff to pay a condolence visit to the parents of the late girl of 13 years residing at Dorayi Quarters in the outskirt of Kano.

The other remaining 8 beneficiaries from our list and their parents were among those flown to India, with 7 of them successfully undergoing medical surgery and thus benefiting from the scheme, while the father of the 8th patient, a boy of 4 years refused to give consent for his child to be operated upon after being discovered to have a complicated heart case. All efforts to convince him to allow the child to be treated met with a staunch, negative answer. So, sadly the child and his mother were returned to Nigeria without performing the required operation.
On a brighter note though, Usman is here with us and is full of life and very willing to celebrate with us his return to full health, which prior to his MTN Foundation intervention surgery in far off India was anything, but that. Now, not only can he sit, but he can walk, run, giggle and wear a smile that can melt the hardest of hearts, all courtesy of a group of people that chose to give, a bunch of folks in organizations who really have a caring heart. The boy’s thanks has been registered and sent into a bright and hopeful future, in sha Allaah.

©2016 Tijjani M. M. & DesignWorld INT’L
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