By Nick Chibunna
Tears of joy flowed freely penultimate Friday as hospital bills of some discharged patients in hospitals across Imo State were paid by the Anglican Diocese of Ikeduru under her Indoor Member Prayer Cycle “(IMPC) otherwise known as “St. Luke’s Day”.
St. Luke’s Day celebration is an annual event in memory of a great Evangelist and physician, St. Luke, whose ministry touched many lives and gave succor to the poor and needy.
In the Anglican Diocese of Ikeduru, the occasion is marked with a service of praise and thanksgiving, and visit to the less-privileged members of the society, including hospitals.
Till date, according to official release, the Diocese of Ikeduru, since inception, has spent about N3 million to off-set unpaid hospital bills of some indigent members of the society, and so far, 40 patients have benefitted from the kind gesture. In pre-visitation service of priase and thanksgiving at St. David’s Hospital Ikenegbu Owerri, the Bishop of Ikeduru Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel C. Maduwike, JP enjoined the people of God to always have faith in God.
In a sermon entitled; ”…can these bones live? ”(Ezkl. 37:3), Bishop Maduwike said that as life was prophesied into dry bones so would God breath life into any area of our life that is dead.
He encouraged the less-privileged in our midst never to lose faith in God but always wait for His promises.
The prelate said that St. Luke’s Day celebrates a gifted servant of God who had passion and burden for the weak and less-priveleged, and implored health workers to be their brothers’ keeper, by demonstrating the same love and passion, adding that God would reward them accordingly.
Bishop Maduwike who was besieged by patients in some of the hospitals who were asking for assistance, told them to excercise patience that God in His infinite mercy would see them through, and that those who could not benefit from this year’s outing might benefit in some other time.
For the first time since its inception, the IMPC did not visit government hospitals due to the current strike action embarked upon by health workers in Imo state.
The IMPC, however, visited three private hospitals. They included St. David’s Hospital, Ikenegbu Owerri, Chapel Group also in Owerri and St. Christopher’s Hospital in the Ikeduru local Government Area, where prayers were offered for management staff and patients, with unpaid bills of some patients cleared.
At St. David’s Hospital Ikenegbu where unpaid hospital bills of five patients were cleared, both Mrs. F. Aneka and Mr. I. Njoku expressed appreciation to God and Bishop Maduwike for off-setting the balance of their bills of N92,950 and N43,950 respectively.