….frowns, as sit at home order by By IPOB almost disrupted event
Awgu local government Area of Enugu state on Tuesday second of November 2021 hosted a huge crowd that gathered for a free medical outreach organised by the member representing Anniri/Awgu/Orji River Federal Constituency, Hon.Toby Okechukwu
The flag off of this year free medical services event which took place at the UNTH Outpost Ugbo in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State included eye treatment surgery, free gynecological check up and surgeries, just as fibroid, Hernia, appendix and all of which was carried out by specialist doctors.
The free treatment services which catered for about 2758 patients in which, many were operated on, and all were given free drugs after medical checkup from the three local local government of Enugu state was expected to last more than three days but was cut shot due to sit at home order by IPOB .
Speaking prior to the event, Hon Toby Okechukwu stated that his reason for hosting the free medical outreach annually is because he believed a healthy people is a wealthy people and as such would do anything in his reach to ensure that his people live a wealthy life.
Also in an exclusive interview with UGAMATV, he said “There are some interventions which is needed to be carried out to help those in the rural communities who may have health challenges but do not have fund to solve their health problems, though we can not help everyone at same time .So that is how we came about intervening annually”, Okechukwu said.
He also expressed displeasure over the exercise which was cut shot due to the sit at home order declared by the IPOB
“Iam sad to see that this exercise which was supposed to still continue to the end of this week is been cut shot due to the sit at home order by the IPOB which is expected to commence on friday 5th of November.
“This is an effort to complement the efforts of the state government regarding health care. And its deliberately meant to be done in rural communities. This has been done in Achi Joint Hospital, it has also been done in Cottage Hospital Nenwe too, and also been done in Awgu General Hospital, and Ihe and we are doing it to spread across our communities to make sure that it has the right impact.
“Today we are here at Ugbo and the UNTH health care workers are going to test this facility as they have gotten an outpost for this area and for rural communities.
Speaking on his expectations for the outpost, he said “Our expectation is that it will be properly equipped as a hospital so that instead of going to UNTH in town people can come here, see medical doctors, see pharmacists, and see nurses and receive adequate healthcare.
“This is essentially an intervention, and we will continue to do this annually. Unfortunately the security situation will not allow doctors on the move to stay as long as they would want to but we will continue this next year”, he said reassuring the villagers.
Hon. Dr Joseph Haruna Kigbu, the team leader of ‘Doctors On The Move’ who were the doctors on duty there said that this is not their first time of working with Hon. Toby Okechuukwu as they have worked with him for the past 7 years. Speaking on some of the works they did this year in the outreach, he said “ We’ve given out free glasses for those who have eye problems requiring eye glass, and helped those with bigger eye sight problems such as glycoma.
“We have also perfumed several surgeries in this past 3 days for people with health issues such as appendicitis and fibroid, and all this is being done by our specialist doctors.
Dr Joseph who said it wasn’t just ok to perform surgeries on the patients and leave them added that they have put in place measures for follow up on checkup on the patients.
“Doctors On The Move Africa have worked with Toby for the past 7 years at the Cottage hospital Nenwe, we have worked at St. Mary’s hospital. Today we are at UNTH Outpost Ugbo. This is a new health center here and Toby deserve some credit for this. The man deemed it fit for there to be an outpost station where they can easily receive primary patients before referral to Ituku-Ozara.
“we have a network, as you can see we have a few of their doctors from UNTH working with us. There are also 2 medical officers that are on posted to this center, they come here Wednesdays and Thursdays so they are also coming to work with us during this outreach.
“So if we have post operative patients, these doctors will look after them and look out for minor ailments that may arise and they could also remove their stitches by the seventh or eighth day as the case may be. So there shouldn’t be any problem on that aspect.
“We are fully equipped, usually those patients when operated on, we observe them and once they are fit, we send them home and we instruct them to come back after seven or eight days for stitch removal. Some of may not even need to come back for stitch removal depending on the type of stitch we do on them because they get absorbed on their own, especially for pediatric patients so they only need to come back for the nurses and doctors to check their body system essentially.
Speaking on the poor health behavior of Nigerians, he encouraged the patients to continuously come for medical checkup, stating that it is very important. You don’t wait till you fall down in the market because of hypertension before you go to the hospital. You can prevent yourself from falling down by regular checkup on your blood pressure and taking the necessary drugs.
“We will continue to encourage them in this aspect. We also call on the government as a matter of deliberate policy to ensure that the National Health Insurance Scheme works.
“We know it’s a difficult one and we understand the enugu state government and many other state governments in the south east have started a program of Community Health Insurance so that they can capture citizens in local communities, so that with their card they can access health care at any general hospital or primary health center.
“That is the concept of universal health coverage which the World Health Organization preaches. It is important that government works in this regard as that is the only way we can keep the health of our citizens in checkups because if we leave it to them to seek for health care from out of pocket expenses, because of poverty and ignorance a lot of them will never do it.
“It is common to see people with very huge hernia coming to see us during the outreach because they know its free. It is also common to see ladies between the ages of 35 to 55 coming with very huge fibroids and that shouldn’t be the case. Before your fibroid goes up to 12 weeks pregnancy size seek you should have seen a gynecologist and he should have been able to take appropriate measures.
“So when they come with fibroids as big and equivalent to 9 months pregnancy, it becomes very difficult for the most experienced doctors to even operate on them because they bleed a lot and we have seen a lot of that in medical outreaches.
“So I call on all women especially those who are married and planning to marry, come for checkup to check your womb which is very easy to do to know if there is any fibroid and how you need to go about it”, he said concluding.
Speaking with some of the villagers who partook in the outreach they had nothing but thanks to give as some of them who had ailments which would have caused them thousands to treat were treated freely, and those who believed their sickness to be a death sentence were treated instantly.
Onyinye Ezilo one of the patients with eye problems described the treatment she was given as a miracle as it helped her sight instantly
Onyinye said “I came here because of my sight. I find it difficult to read and when I read I can’t normally see things written in small letters. I came here and saw the doctor free of charge and am ok now. I encourage others that have not come here to try their best and come here”, she said.
In an interview, one of the beneficiary of the free medical services, Mr Ifeanyi who was went through appendicitis surgery was filled with joy and thanked the Honourable for this kind gesture.
“As am looking at them they know what they are doing because there is no complain from people who they have operated on, including me. As I saw the treatment I asked the doctor if am free to go back to my home town and he said am free but within a week time I should come back for them to lose the stitches.
“I prayed before coming here and God have already answered my prayer by using them. I have also benefitted from Okechukwu’s outreach last 2 years and am happy that he is still doing it up till now, and all I can say is thank you Sir, and I will try all my best to see him any day to thank him myself”, he said concluding.