The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs on Tuesday began a free medical outreach in Mmahu community, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo.
Minister of state for Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura, said at the inauguration of the exercise that it was part of strategies adopted by President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to compliment routine health delivery services.
Alasoadura said the exercise targeted women and youths to address pressing health issues of rural communities such as malaria and cancer, amongst, adding that the gesture was in line with Universal Health Coverage (UHC) of the Federal Government (FG).
He said: ”I will like to restate President Buhari’s desire to ensure that the people of this region enjoy basic health care as a priority area in developmental plans for the Niger Delta area.
”This medical outreach seeks to bring medicare closer to the people just as we have done in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Edo.
”This administration recognises the people of this community and is concerned about your welfare”.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Olusade Adesola, described the outreach as an initiative with multi-dimensional objectives.
Adesola, who was represented by Mrs Lauren Braide, the Director, Community Development and Education in the ministry, said the objectives were organised to have far reaching effects on the people.
He listed the objectives to include: fostering behavioural change towards health issues and reducing the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
Others are: teaching local dwellers on how to live healthy lives and manage health challenges when cure is not readily available.
”The effects of this medical outreach are both multi-dimensional and far reaching.
”We want to bring healthcare services to the door steps of the people of the region, reduce stigma and make the people more self reliant,” Adesola said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Hope Uzodinma, who spoke when representatives of the ministry paid him a courtesy call in his office, urged the ministry to establish a health insurance scheme for oil producing communities.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku, said the scheme would grant local dwellers access to quality healthcare in the absence of the ministry and it’s medical representatives.
Also, the traditional ruler of Mmahu community, Eze Augustin Iwuogu, thanked the ministry for the initiative while assuring that he would continue to create the enabling environment for the activities of the ministry in his community.
He, however called on the ministry to expedite work on an abandoned gas turbine site, adding that the turbine when completed would take the youths away from the streets through job creation.