Magnus Eze, Enugu
Residents of Obinofia Ndi Uno in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State would for long remain grateful to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) for bringing succour to them.
The state branch of NMA had on October 16, 2019, as part of activities marking the 2019 Physicians’ Week, embarked on a medical /surgical mission where various medical and surgical services were offered to residents of the rural community at no cost.
Tagged ‘Health for all’, the programme which took place at the Primary Health Centre, Obinofia Ndi Uno, was carried out in partnership with the Ezeagu Local Government Area and had over 40 medical personnel including specialists in various fields and allied health professionals in attendance.
Over 800 members of the community with various ailments received preventive/promotive health care, medical and surgical care as well as referrals to tertiary health facilities where necessary.
Daily Sun learnt that the mission covered several medical cases ranging from malaria, hypertension, diabetes, diarrheal diseases, worm infestations, and arthritic conditions, among others.
Eye care, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services and other surgical interventions including hernias, hydrocoele, lipomas and other benign tumours were also given to over 30 patients.
State NMA Chairman, Dr. Ike Okwesili in his remarks said that the mission was one out the series of medical/surgical outreaches programmed for the year across the three senatorial zones of the State. He explained that the community was selected for the intervention based on a community diagnosis conducted prior to the outreach.
Okwesili lamented that the disparity between the rich and the poor in the society which created lack/poor access to quality and affordable health care especially at the primary level has consistently worsened the health outcomes for the vulnerable group. He then, praised the Ezeagu Council Chairman, Hon. Chukwudi Ezinwa, for his love for his people as displayed in the council’s partnership in the programme.
On his part, the council boss said that words were not enough to express his joy for the kind gestures of the NMA Enugu state to the people of his community.
He said: “This medical mission has further given my health agenda for my people a big boost,” assuring of his readiness for continued and even better collaborations with the association in the future.
Assistant secretary of the state branch of NMA, Dr. Chukwuebuka Okafor described the programme as massive and quite successful, noting that the community sensitization and mobilization conducted earlier had yielded the desired results: “You know it gives one a special feeling seeing things go according to plan. As you saw, members of the community turned out in their numbers and accessed “promotive, preventive and curative health care services provided for them by our noble association and we are extremely delighted that lives are touched and saved and that the mission has given this quantum of impact.
“Majority of the patients we had received and seen were from low/lowest income level and could hardly afford and access quality health care because of non-availability or lack of functional primary health facilities.”
Okafor noted that it was in view of the foregoing, that the NMA had consistently advocated that the National Health Act (2014) be fully operationalized, stressing that it would ensure that states keyed into and accessed the basic health care provisional fund and as such build capacity to revamp and revitalize the primary health centres which were hitherto mostly moribund and almost non-existent.
He commended the Enugu State Government for successes recorded so far in the area of health systems reforms and urged other states to toe the path: “State Governments across the federation are advised to have a second look at the health sector structure and operations in their various States and embark on relevant reform processes with a view to strengthening the capacity of the various secondary health care facilities. This, when done, I believe would take up more patients and ease off the load/pressure from these primary healthcare facilities and serve the health of these rural populations better.”
Above all, the NMA advised Government at all levels to prioritize health and increase their budgetary allocation to health as no nation can prosper with an unhealthy workforce and population.