David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
The Department of Family Medicine of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi on May 20, 2019, to their services to the grassroots.
The hospital deployed over 50 medical personnel including consultants to its Comprehensive Health Centre, Umunya in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State for the care of the rural dwellers in commemoration of this year’s World Family Doctor Day.
Over 2,000 members of the community, both old and young with various ailments had gathered at the health facility even before sunrise to receive the attention of the health practitioners who arrived as early as 7:30am from Nnewi to join their counterparts working at the health centre who were already waiting for them.
Head of Department, Family Medicine; Professor Godswill Nnaji said they deployed that huge number of medical personnel in collaboration with the Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria (SOFPON), as part of the social responsibility of the health institution and the medical practitioners, respectively. He said all the community members were targeted, without age limitation.
Nnaji explained the area of service to include free consultation, free investigation and free treatment for all so long as drugs for investigated ailments were there.
“It is a medical mission. This health centre is one of the outposts of NAUTH and we want to make them feel our presence here and to know that we care. They will get the same services they can get from the parent institution in Nnewi,” he said.
On whether there was any prevalent ailment found in the rural community, he said a comprehensive study had not been conducted to that effect. He, however, noted that in Sub-Sahara African communities, health challenges like malaria, malnutrition, infections, diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis, among others were common among the rural dwellers.
On his part, the National President of SOFPON, Dr Nnaedozie Obiegbu described family physicians as gate-keepers in the medical practice based on the fact that they offer comprehensive, coordinated and continued care to their patients of all ages.
Patients were checked on their blood sugar, high blood pressure, body mass index and the patients most of whom were in their 50s and 60s were later fed in the course of the programme.
One of the beneficiaries and a member of the Igwe’s cabinet, Emmanuel Aniebonam who represented the monarch, Igwe Chinedum Onyekwuruje, said his community was delighted to receive the health care and expressed gratitude to the medical team for the initiative.
He appealed that such medical mission be organised by the doctors from time to time and not only during commemoration of events.
For Elder Anthony Nwankwo, another beneficiary, government should begin to give medical allowance to the aged in various communities to enable them replace their routine drugs. He reasoned that as some people were given drugs at the medical mission, a lot of them could not afford to buy the drugs again when they exhaust the free ones.
The event featured moments of praises and lecture series. One of the resource persons, Dr Chioma Nnamani talked on preventive measures and also advised pregnant women to always go for antenatal to enable them have safe delivery at the appropriate time.
She said they should make it a point of duty to have balanced diet, drink enough water to stay healthy.
Dr Iruanusi Chinyere in her lecture told the participants to form the habit of going for medical check at least once in a year, especially when they are aging just as Dr Lois Eziefule talked on other areas for the health benefits of the participants.