By Ralph Madugu
The TEAM-Community Integrated Health Development Advancement (formerly known as The ECWA Aids Ministry, TEAM), celebrated its 25 years’ anniversary recently with the theme: ‘Surely the Lord Has Done Great Things,’ (Joel 2:21b).
Activities marking the silver jubilee started on Monday, April 24, with an awareness visit to communities on what TEAM-CIHDA is all about.
The weeklong event featured captivating activities including sports with orphans and vulnerable children at the Spring of Life Centre at Bingham University Teaching Hospital (BhUTH). There were also free medical outreaches to selected areas within Gada Biyu and Kabong communities in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State.
During the medical outreaches, residents of the three communities were freely screened and tested for various illnesses including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Malaria, Typhoid, High Blood Pressure and diabetes. Other events included sensitization on the activities of TEAM-CIHDA during the Wednesday weekly prayers at the ECWA Headquarters.
The event culminated in a dinner, award and fund raising for the expansion of TEAM-CIHDA Trauma Healing Centre.
At an event held at the ECWA Headquarters International Conference Centre in Jos, the state capital, on Sunday, May 1 to climax the weeklong celebrations, Serving in Mission (SIM), TEARFUND Nigeria and APIN Public Health Initiative were presented awards for outstanding contributions in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. TEARFUND Nigeria received a prize for long-standing donor in system strengthening and community interventions.
In an exhortation on theme of the anniversary, “Surely the Lord Has Done Great Things,” taken from Joel 2:21b, ECWA President, Rev. Dr. Stephen Panya Baba, said the anniversary was a time for sober reflection as, according to him, it was a moment to “look at how far we have fared as salt and light of the nation.”
The ECWA President stated that evil people had taken over the nation, hence only genuine repentance could avert God’s judgment.
“True repentance rather than mere religious activities.
“God is interested in real change in our behaviours.
“There is so much repentance and religious activities. So much fasting and wearing of black clothes but does it really match up without our daily lifestyles?
“God is waiting for genuine repentance from Nigeria and Nigerians.”
While calling on Nigerians to regard repentance as an issue of emergency to avert the impending judgment of God, the cleric escribed the current state of affairs in Nigeria as nothing different from the days of Prophet Joel.
Said he: “We need to repent of the neglect and oppression of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria.
“Pride and gluttony and unconcern for the poor, orphans and widows. They are not only neglected but on top of that, they are oppressed.”
Speaking at the event, Plateau State Governor and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Simon Bako Lalong, said that government was not meeting all the needs of the people, adding that it was delighted to see organizations like TEAM-CIHDA complimenting government’s efforts in meeting people’s needs.
Represented by Rev. Dr. David Laje, his Adviser on Christian Religious Affairs, the governor applauded ECWA for its holistic approach to ministry, adding that government was pleased with it because it was geared towards meeting the needs of the communities.
Earlier in his remarks, Coordinator of TEAM-CIHDA, Mr. Ezekiel Bala disclosed that the celebration was to celebrate God’s faithfulness in the life of the organization which, according to him, had been “rendering services to humanity across the states of Nigeria.”
Mr. Bala disclosed that, as a ministry established in 1996 aimed at intervening in HIV/AIDS treatment, TEAM had in the last 25 years diversified into other areas such as humanitarian response, peace building, sexual and gender based violence, maternal and child healthcare and support to vulnerable people.
“This diversification came with change of name since it is not HIV and AIDS that the organization is now known as TEAM-Community Integrated Health, TEAM-CIHDA.” There were goodwill messages from the SIM, RURCON, TEARFUND, APIN Public Health Initiative and the Gwom Kabong.