By: Felix Ikpotor
Over 1000 residents of Opobo Town have benefitted from a free medical outreach organised by the Nigeria Navy Ship Pathfinder in Rivers State.
The outreach took place at Opobo Community General Hospital in Opobo/Nkoro local council of the state.
Commander of NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Desmond Igbo while declaring the outreach open said the programme was one of the initiatives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla in promoting civil-military relationship.
He said: “The free medical outreach to Opobo people is one of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla’s initiative of promoting public health and also civil-military relationship.
“At the inception of his command, apart from ensuring safety on the waterways, he also planned to ensure that public health, especially where the navy establishments are; the people there also receive health assistance”.
Commander Igbo explained further that the outreach was meant to benefit over 1000 persons with diverse ailments.
“Estimated beneficiary is 1000 people and even more because we have enough medical supplies to go round and we are giving them free drugs, eye examination and glasses, treated mosquito nets, blood pressure and blood sugar testing and dental services amongst others and our experts and qualified doctors from the Nigeria Navy are on ground to perform this treatments,” he said.
He assured that the medical outreach would be extended to other communities in the state.
On his part, Dr Dienye Bell-Gam who represented the Amayanabo of Opobo, His Majesty, King Dandeson Douglas-Jaja commended the navy for bringing the outreach to the area.
He called on the government to extend their medical services to other satellite towns of Opobo Kingdom.
” We have a lot of health problems in our area because of our environment and we also have satellite communities and we need medical presence in those areas especially medical post.
“Let me also request to the government that we want water ambulance because there are a lot of medical emergencies that has led to deaths in many cases and we also have hard to reach areas that are waterlogged,” he said.
Supervisor for Health and Vice Chairman of the area, Dr Angela Anthony-Ojukienmie expressed delight at the turnout of people for the programme adding that the outreach was coming at a time that people lack healthcare.
“I must say that I’m impressed by what I have seen here, the turnout of people coming to access this free medical care that is being provided by the NNS Pathfinder. I must say that it is a very good thing even at this point in time that people lack healthcare,” she said.
While thanking the navy for the gesture, she noted that the Rivers State government is doing much for the people especially in the area of primary healthcare
Also speaking, Medical Director of Opobo General Hospital, Dr Deekia Banks Lebari commended the military- civilian connection created as a result of the outreach, saying that the hospital community was happy with the Navy.
“The Naval Command Unit has impressed the hospital community and the people of Opobo Kingdom with this outreach.
“The striking thing about this medical outreach is the military connection to public health care in communities of the Niger Delta region. Even though they have been holding it at several places to me, as a medical doctor working with the Rivers State Hospital Management Board, I am so excited because of the level of turnout today”, he stated.
One of the beneficiaries who had her eyes screened and given free glasses, Mrs Florence Okoro said the gesture has brought great relief to her.
“The concerns I have about my eye is over, I feel like Jesus has touched me. I am healed. Because they gave me eyeglasses and some eye drops which I will be using to apply to my eyes. I am thankful to the Nigerian Navy for this gesture,” she said.