By Manny Ita
The First Lady of Cross River State, Dr. Linda Ayade is a woman that has silently been committed to uplifting the lot of womanhood though her pet project, the Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF).
A lady you would readily classify as ‘Beauty and Brains, Dr Lynda cuts the picture of a person committed and dedicated to anything she embarks upon to achieve.
True to her vocation, Dr Ayade believes the importance of health, both to the individual and to the larger society could never be overemphasized and she has been a strong pillar of health and empowerment of women. Through her foundation, Mediatrix Development Foundation, MDF, Her Excellency, Dr Linda Ayade has conducted Medical outreaches and offered free health check up on Malaria, HIV/AIDS, BP, BMI as well as distributing free drugs and Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs).
Dr Ayade is as well on the forefront of the rehabilitation of women undergoing fistula repairs in Cross River State. She finds shocking, the high number of obstetric fistula cases in the state and avers “in my ignorance, I used to think that we really don’t have that high number of fistula cases, but from the statistics given now- that about four hundred repairs have been carried out since the inception of the fistula centre in Cross River State, and these are those that have been able to access help. This means that we have a lot of these cases here so we have to do something to alleviate the suffering of the people.’’
With all things put in place for the fistula centre to run smoothly, it is answered prayers for fistula patients. The VVF centre has so far, carried out more than 500 obstetric fistula repairs through pooled effort repair, since it started in November 2011, with support from the United States.
However, that is not where the line is drawn for the indefatigable doctor as she is also in the thick of the fight against cancer scourge in the country. In collaboration with other governors wives who are also doctors, the women under the aegis of Wives of Governors Against Cancer in Nigeria, led by Dr. Mrs. Linda Ayade, the group has continued to undertake facility tours of several areas with Diagnostic Medical Centre, the cancer treatment centres, inspiring hope to many.
According to the World Health Organization, WHO report, Nigeria has the highest cancer rate in Africa with over 250,000 new cases each year and over 10,000 persons dying of cancer annually. WHO predicts that by 2030, close to one million people will die of cancer each year in sub-Saharan Africa and for every four people who die of HVI/AIDS, there would three who die of cancer. Quite an alarming statistic, you would agree and indeed a situation that should not be allowed to continue.
With the aim of enlightening people about the dangers of cancer and it’s preventive measures, the Mediatrix Development Foundation MDF in partnership with The NYSC Medical and Health CDS Group Calabar Chapter walked the streets of Marian market, one of the largest central market in Calabar at the Primary Health Care Facility located right in the heart of the market with a medical outreach tagged “PREVENTIVE HEALTH CARE”
The outreach demonstrated how breast examination was done while other services rendered included HIV, counselling and testing, malaria testing and treatment, health talks on cleanliness, nutrition and others treatment of common ailments by a team of Doctors made up of serving Medical and Health CDS group youth Corpers and MDF volunteers. Malaria treated bed nets and several IEC materials were also distributed.
Dr. Linda Ayade says there is need for partnesand relevant stakeholders to effectively synergize to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the state..
“Attaining Sustainable Development Goals in Cross River State and Nigeria at large, we need greater synergy to achieve sustainable development goals to improve the livelihoods of our people.” she says.
Dr. Linda who believes holistic empowerment of women can never be achieved without ensuring good health of the womenfolk has called on called on the governments and developing partners to support relevant bodies in achieving universal health coverage, saying she has carried out activities geared towards improving the livelihood options of her people long before her husband assumed office, pointing out that these, have cost a huge amount of resources, but of which she is certain that the results have not been commensurate, which is one reason for the said strategy process; to tie all our activities to specific thematic areas and to develop such a work plan that every resource thrown in produces the maximum value possible.
“This planning process is a necessary step towards ensuring the survival of MDF beyond our term in political office. It is necessary to streamline MDF’s resources, which are not unlimited, towards the most relevant and specific development goals despite that my passion for the less privileged makes me desire to touch everyone and solve every problem.
“I am certain that there are strengths and weaknesses, abilities and limitations that we have as an organization which may still be unknown to us. So, I look forward to the revelations that this strategic planning meeting holds” she said.
Dr Ayade who also has a strong interest in the rehabilitation of women after surgery wants relevant government bodies and developing partners to synergize, share their work plans innovative ideas.
Issues of child abuse and molestation in the state are another twin vice that Dr. Linda Ayade says she is ready to tackle “head-on., with disturbing statistics showing rising cases of child abuse. The MDF, according to her was founded to also achieve this.
“Emerging stories are very disturbing and we at MDF have decided to take on it head-on and hands-on.
“Our children are our future and they deserve the best foundation for a good future.
“Our children are being sexually abused and Psychologically damaged at their tender ages,”
Dr Ayade wants residents to report cases of child abuse and molestation as the MDF is: “determined to do whatever it takes to put this menace in check.
“Please help us by reporting any known cases or even suspicions.
“Watch out for the loose kids in your neighbourhood, help that child the best you can.
“Talk to the parents on the issue and advice them to be more vigilant in protecting their kids/wards.
“Some children have very little or no protection from those who are meant to be their shield from the harshness of this world, this is very sad.
“It is our collective duty to resist evil and I believe that you and I can do something positive about this.
“Help us take the message further and save that child.
Committed to restoring the dignity that comes with womanhood, Dr Ayade points out that women are the strength of Nigeria and strongly believes that.the numerous challenges plaguing the country will be resolved amicably, sustainably and faster if women were allowed to step into them.
Dr. Linda Ugwuye Ayade, , was born on 23 December and hails from Obudu LGA of Cross River State. She got married to her husband on the 2nd of October, 1999. Linda holds an MBBS from the University of Port Harcourt and an MPH from University of Wolverhampton, majoring in Health Improvement and Health Promotion. She is also a member of Nigeria Medical Association and General Medical Council of United Kingdom. Until 2014 she worked with the National Health Society in the UK.
They are blessed with three children.
There is certainly not a shade of doubt that Dr Lynda Ayade is a sure woman of influence and inspiration, with her remarkable strides, commendable sphere of influence and the lives she has inspired through her various humanitarian platforms.
Indeed she deserves to be appreciated.