Ghana’s hospitals are filled with scores of patients in desperate need of help to undergo heart surgeries. Many have lost their lives due to their inability or that of their relatives to afford the huge costs required for successful heart operations.
In Ghana, it costs an estimated amount of about US$ 6,000 for a patient to undergo a successful heart surgery; an amount most households can barely afford. The plight of these people is what moved worship leader Nii Okai, to begin what he calls the Savings Hearts Project, to raise support for needy heart patients across the country.
Through his organization, Nii Okai Ministries, the soft spoken gospel musician has been able to garner support for some of these patients. So far, two children have undergone free heart surgeries at the National Cardiothoracic center. The cost of their operations was fully paid by the ministry through public donations into the project. The Saving Hearts Project, he says was laid on his heart by God as he celebrated ten years of his maiden hit album Mokobe.
“My maiden album Mokobe was ten years old in December 2013, and to celebrate this, the Lord laid on my heart to launch a campaign to help our brothers and sisters in need of assistance to undergo heart surgeries. There are several of such needy people in our hospitals and it’s disheartening sometimes to hear that some die because they couldn’t afford the cost of surgery. So we embarked on the project in collaboration with the Ghana Heart Foundation and we are still on. We have received enormous support from individuals, churches and organizations towards this project and we are grateful to God lives are being saved,” said Nii Okai.
On World Hearts Day this year, Nii Okai Ministries selected the third beneficiary to undergo a fully-paid-for operation, following the generous donation from Haven of Rest, United Kingdom. The operation is scheduled to take place at the National Cardiothoracic center in the coming weeks.
In support of the Saving Hearts Project, students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology recently participated in a flashmob at the university’s premises and some streets in Kumasi. The students, drawn from various Christian groups and associations on the campus, came together and organized a series of programmes to create awareness about the Project and raised funds among themselves to assist the nation’s needy cardio patients.
KNUST’s Mass drama, acclaimed to be one of the most creative groups in the country, entertained the students with some of their notable performances while medical students from the university took the opportunity to educate their peers on hole in heart and how to prevent heart diseases.
“It was such a touching moment for me and the team. KNUST is my Alma mater and that is where my music ministry blossomed, so to see the students come out the way they did to support this noble cause was most refreshing,” Said Nii Okai.
Nii Okai has committed all proceeds from his latest album to the Saving Hearts Project. Both the audio and DVD versions of the album have been compressed on a specially designed flash drive cum wristband with the inscription “I am a heart saver.”
“The flash drive, apart from serving as the storage device for the songs also serves as a band of honour for all our donors. We have a target of supporting ten patients to undergo free heart surgeries.
US$ 6,000 per patient is quite huge but I believe, as corporate bodies, churches and individuals come on board, we can be able to raise the monies needed. We have done three so far and we are certain, as God gives us grace, that we can meet our target and assist, at least seven more people.” He added.
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