The making of SAVAN is based on genuine historical antecedent of
experience and conviction unlike most other non-governmental organizations.
The dream actually started on the 22nd of August 1996, when Dr.
Eddy Ehikhamenor was called at about 10.00pm to the accident and emergency
unit of the university of Benin teaching hospital (UBTH), Benin city to
come and treat an accident victim, in critical condition. On arrival at the
accident and emergency center, he noticed a well-built young man whose good
looks was masked by his own pool of blood dripping from all parts of his
facial region. The first instinct as a doctor was to take history, examine
and initiate treatment. But unfortunately, the young man was not
interested. This was the first in the history of Dr. Eddy's eight years of
practice, that he would see a man in severe distress but courageous or
recalcitrant in accepting immediate medical attention to alleviate his
His nonchalant attitude greatly aroused this doctor's curiosity to
establish the rationale for his refusal to accept treatment. The doctor
then appealed to all the nurses to depart from the immediate vicinity of
the patient, so that he could be alone with him for a proper dialogue.
After several appeals, the young man opened up with an interesting
The story goes that he was a lecturer at Belize in Central America
and had come to Nigeria to wed after much pressure on him at 41 years.
After the wedding in Lagos, he had gone to his hometown in the Eastern part
of Nigeria to bring a younger brother-in-law to assist the wife in the
house when he goes back to Belize. Unfortunately, he had a tragic accident
at Ore Town, about 100 km from Benin City. His car had a head-on collision
with another vehicle and both his young in-law and himself were trapped at
the site of the accident for 45 minutes without any assistance. A Good
Samaritan later came in with a pick-up van to rescue them from the site of
For fear of repercussion from the law enforcement agents, he had to
take them to a police Station to pick a Policeman to accompany them to the
hospital. On arrival at this popular governmental hospital, several
questions were raised by the hospital staff, which included:
- Who will stand for you?
- How much money is with you?
- Where is the police report?
So many other questions took precedence over expedient first/aid
reactions necessary to resuscitate the victims at that time. The patient
constant response was " please treat us first, how am I suppose to know
where my money is, treat the little boy, he is dying, he is bleeding. For
God's sake treat us before the little boy dies."
Unfortunately his words as emotionally laden as they were could not make the medical staff
shift ground. Then all of a sudden, the small boy became motionless and
gave up the ghost. The newly wedded man was now benumbed to his own pain
and bleeding, and was now weeping for his small brother-in-law, whose death
was a sign of a bad omen to his recent wedding. He asked himself aloud over
and over again how he was going to explain to his wife that the little
brother was dead. It was better for him to die rather than go back and
explain to his wife. He held on tenaciously to his belief till Dr. Eddy
engaged him in a prolonged counseling session, which eventually led to a
change of heart, and finally accepted being treated.
Throughout that night, Dr. Eddy could not sleep well as he felt
disturbed and sad to realize that this was a common occurrence in hospitals
nationwide, and no amount of salary and allowance could make one pretend
otherwise about simple preventable deaths in our hospitals.
Battling with his conscience, he felt that somehow it had become
necessary for some kind of charity organization to act as the actual
relations of such victims in the absence of their biological relations.
The next day, he shared his traumatic experience with Dr. Steve
Okokwu, a close physician colleague.
As he explained his ordeal, Dr Okokwu narrated a similar sad
episode in a well-known government hospital, where a final year medical
student was left unattended to for nearly five (5) hours until he died from
severe blood loss and other complications of the accident. Today he would
have been a Doctor but the policy of pay-before-service and hospital
bureaucracy snatched him away from this world at a young age.
It was after this dialogue that Dr. Ehikhamenor suggested to Dr.
Okokwu that they should form a charity organization to act as the relations
to accident victims, in the absence of their biological relations. There
and then, he told Dr. Okokwu that while the Pastors should be left to save
the souls of sinners, the proposed charitable organization could save the
flesh before they die. An agreement was reached and the first meeting was
held on the 31st August 1996, and was held at the residence of
Dr. Ehikhamenor, where four people gathered to develop the blueprint that
led to the formation of the SAVAN
That was how the seed of SAVAN was sown, and ever since the
population of members have continued to balloon nationwide. So what started
like a small talk in a tiny room in Benin City on the 31st of
August 1996 is now assuming an octopus dimension both nationally and
The history of SAVAN is that of a great sacrifice and hard work. It
is unique because it is God's divine inspiration with members being used as
a vehicle to sustain the dream.
After six months of extensive consultation, active SAVAN operation
began at UBTH on February 17th, 1997, with just few drugs. Based
on credible performance, the Chief Nursing Officer in the Accident and
Emergency decided to join as a full member, thus doubling both as a focal
member and an individual member at the same time. The choice of UBTH was
based on the old adage that charity begins at home; hence the operational
trial center was at UBTH, Benin City. The expansion program of SAVAN
Nationwide began after the co-ordinator general addressed all the Chief
Medical Directors of Teaching and Specialist Hospitals in the country on
July 11 1997.