Despite the nation-wide strike embarked upon by the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, since July 1, some doctors in Rivers State did not hesitate to participate in the free medical programme organized by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in conjunction with Golspin Health Care Foundation at Asarama Health Centre in Andoni Local Government Area of the state. The seven-day free medical programme, which has attracted thousands of patients in the area, would be rounded off on Saturday, August 23.
The Chief Medical Consultant and leader of the medical team, Professor Adelayo Oseikhuemen Ejele, commended the doctors who volunteered their services at a time most doctors were keeping away from government hospitals. He said that the Asarama community and their neigbours should be grateful to the NDDC for bringing the free health programme to their door-steps. “The common saying is that health is wealth. But for us in this health mission, health is better than wealth,” he said.
According to Prof. Ejele, 1,479 cases were treated, including 21 surgeries, 108 dental cases and 365 laboratory investigations. He said that 156 patients were screened for HIV/AIDS and only 2 persons were found to be positive. “Fortunately, Ebola is not here yet and we pray that it will never get here,” he said.
Flagging off the free health programme the Managing Director of NDDC, Sir Bassey Dan-Abia, stated that the commission was presenting a free gift from President Goodluck Jonathan to the rural communities in the Niger Delta. The NDDC Chief Executive Officer, who was represented by Chief Ephraim Etete-Owoh, the Rivers State representative on the Governing Board of the commission, said that apart from bringing good health to the people, the interventionist agency was determined to change the face of the communities with development projects.
He appealed to the people to always support NDDC and cooperate with its contractors to ensure timely and satisfactory completion of projects in their communities. “I also urge contractors working for us to be up and doing so as to deliver quality projects for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta.”
Speaking for the Asarama community, Chief Appolus Ewaye, noted that the health programme came at a time many people in the villages were finding it difficult to access healthcare facilities. “We deeply appreciate this programme.
The on-going free medical services have been taken to several communities in the 9 states of the Niger Delta in the last one month.