From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The Nigerian Army on Saturday reiterated its commitment to maintaining a healthy relationship with the civilian populace as a strategy to defeat insurgents and bandits in the country.
The Acting Medical Director, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Colonel Augustine Omoghethai, who stated this while flagging off medical outreach in Badiko village, Kaduna, said the role of the civilians in overcoming internal security threats is germane.
According to him, the medical outreach, which focuses on talk, test and free drugs for hypertension got a nod from top army officials to reduce the rise in the number of those carrying the burden of the disease in the State.
‘This is our immediate host community, Badiko village, Kaduna. We are here to let them know there is a silent killer disease called hypertension which many people do not know they have yet it is killing them. Some who even know that they have it, do not get regular drugs,’ the colonel said.
‘As medical practitioners, we have been seeing people coming to the hospital half-dead. For example, when a stroke strikes, it is difficult to manage. But, prevention is better than cure. Of recent, we are seeing a rise in this particular disease.
‘So, we came up with this idea to help solve the problem of hypertension in several Kaduna communities. We sought the blessing of our corps commander, our chief of administration at the Nigerian Army headquarters and the Chief of Army Staff who gave us go-ahead to do this.
‘We are not just talking to them, we are giving the medication they can take for a month at no cost. We are starting with Badiko after when we will move to Angwan Sanusi and then Kurmi Mashi and other communities including Kakuri and Trikania. This we will be spending a week in each community.
‘The Nigerian Army will not succeed without the civilian population. We work with them. We live with them. We have a common enemy; the war against terror is there, the war against banditry is there and for you to win these wars, you need to win the heart of the people. That is what we are doing here. The populace must benefit from our expertise, from the benevolence of the CoAS,’ he said.
Sarki Badiko Usman Sani appreciated the army authority for the gesture, saying it would go a long way in meeting the medical needs of his people, calling on the army to consider the young persons in his community for employment when such opportunity arises.
‘We appreciate the Chief Medical Director for showing that his own charity begins at home by way of helping us to know about hypertension and giving free treatment to those who are hypertensive,’ the traditional leader said.