By Onome Oghenetega
The federal government, through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, has taken its free medical outreach to an oil and gas impacted community, Opolo-Epie in Bayelsa State.
The initiative which is poised to give succor to many with health challenges which include malaria, eye surgery, testing and treatment of cancer, distribution of medications for HIV/AIDS patients among other ailments, took place at the weekend.
Declaring the programme open, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Aminu Aliyu Bisalla, represented by the Bayelsa State Coordinator of the Ministry, Augustine Odia, said the Ministry embarked on the medical outreach in order to ensure “healthy living for the people of the Niger Delta region.”
Over 5,000 people in the oil rich area have so far benefited from the ongoing medical outreach which is carried out in collaboration with an organization, Vision Savers Limited, Deputy Director of press, Stephen Kilebi disclosed in a statement.
Urging the the federal government to do more, the beneficiaries said the free medical outreach in Bayelsa, as well as other Niger Delta States shows government’s concern for their conditions.
Some persons who spoke to newsmen complained that they have been subjected to several medical problems, especially eye related ones, due to oil and gas pollutions.
The traditional ruler of Opolo-Epie Kingdom, HRH Gabriel Ekezi, said many of his people have suffered several health challenges over the years because of their inability to afford medical services in hospitals.
Commending the federal government for the gesture, he charged his people to cooperate with the medical team in order to enjoy the free services.
Another monarch, HRM Akile Nwaku, the Pere of Biseni Kingdom, Yenagoa council area, called on the ministry to extend the outreach to the various kingdoms across the State so that thousands of lives will bebefit.
Meanwhile, the Director General, State Action Committee on HIV/AIDS (SACA) in Bayelsa State, Ogregade Ileimokumo, has tasked people to see medical help on time, for early detection and treatment of the virus and other contagious illnesses.