Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The indigenes of Umuapu, Obitti, Obosima, and Ohuba, in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State on Monday, June 10 benefitted from the free medical treatment offered by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Ltd in collaboration with the Imo State Primary Health Care Board. Also, Avu and few other villages in Owerri West Local Government were part of the 3 days programme tagged “Community care programme.”
Indigenes of these communities were treated of their minor ailments, deworming of their children, dental and eye care. Other areas include, cervical and breast cancer diagnosis
The professional doctors brought for the assignment did not just treat the patients’ ailments but had them undergo a laboratory diagnosis before treatment and dispensing of drugs.
According to the General Manager External Relations of SPDC, Igo Weli whose address was read by the Interface manager of the the company, Ayodeji Adeleke,having already commenced the Ohaji south gas project in Assa, as part of a major expansion of Nigeria’s gas production , the development he said is aimed at contributing to and supporting the aspiration of the federal government National Gas Master plan by profitably developing the reservoirs in Assa south fields.
Weli explained that their presence therefore on the medical treatment is to improve on their social responsibility to the people.
“So, our presence in Imo State today is part of a broader care agenda and an extension of our social performance initiative to our major stakeholders in project communities”. Weli said.
The health programme at Ohaji\ Egbema was not the first according to the general manager, he said the programme actually started in 2008 ,reaching out to 644,608 persons from over 150 communities across Niger Delta .
On the Ohaji\Egbema medical project, he explained that 7,666 persons have benefitted from outreaches in the primary treatment facility and pipeline communities in the past two years.
Weli explained that because of the ignorance and poverty to access health care, Shell has decided to bring it to their doorsteps.
“It is a common knowledge in our country that individuals, families and communities bear the burden of health care. This burden becomes unmanageable as poverty, ignorance recourse to unproven alternative treatment lead to avoidable delays which make simple common health conditions degenerate into serious and life – threatening medical conditions before finally accessing health care services. Whenever this happens the consequences are unpredictable and may be grave with potential to affect everyone including the community and the economy of Nigeria,” Weli predicts.
Speaking during the flag off, the executive secretary ,Imo State Primary Health care, Mrs. Dike Victoria lauded the efforts of Shell and encouraged indigenes to avail themselves of the opportunity.
The Eze-elect of Assa, Emmanuel Onyenze wants the organisers to continue on what they have started but like Oliver Twist reminded them to keep to their promise of other projects promised them.
Chijioke Samuel, 75-year-old, and one of the beneficiary of the programme thanked the organisers just as he urged their youths to be patient on the company
Also, Mrs Schola Elebuwa from Ihe-Ohaji, who has been suffering from chest pain for five years, thanked the organisers for curing her ailment.