In spite of federal government’s threat of ‘no work, no pay’, the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU), last week, embarked on indefinite industrial action to press home their demands, which have been neglected for some years now. They have since dared the federal government to do their worst.
The negative impacts of the ongoing strike action by public health workers on the citizenry, especially the less economically endowed, who assess government hospitals for their health needs are better imagined than experienced.
While many patients on admission are stranded for their inability to continue their treatments in private hospitals after being ejected, others have resorted to alternative sources including self medication with its concomitant implications.
But the people of Delta state were somehow lucky as respite came their way courtesy of the Anioma Association of Nigeria Incorporation, Georgia in the United States of America, which provided free healthcare services to Deltans.
No fewer than one thousand (1,000) persons benefited from the free medical treatment provided by the association, penultimate weekend in Asaba, the state capital.
The free medical programme which was sponsored and organized by sons and daughters of Anioma indigenes living in Georgia in collaboration with a team of health personnel within Nigeria attended to patients who visited with various degrees of sickness.
The two day free medical service which held at Asaba Girls Grammar School, off Nnebisi road ran from April 20 to 21, 2018 and was not restricted to any age category as men, women, youths; children and the aged were treated and given drugs free of charge.
Speaking on the free medical services, the Chairman, Delta State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Mrs. Isioma Okobah commended the organizers of the program for bringing free medical services to the people to complement the State government’s health for all Deltans initiative.
While noting the timeliness of the programme which came at a period when the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) were on nationwide indefinite strike, she said the free health programme was indeed helpful as it would ameliorate the suffering of the people in solving their health challenges.
Okobah who joined the team of medical professionals to attend to patients said she was happy to do what she always loved to do once again as she consulted for several hours before taking a leave to attend to other engagements.
“It was very well organized, I appreciated and commended them for putting together a two-day program where they were able to screen for diabetes, high blood pressure and give free medical consultation including treatment against skin diseases. Treatments were also given to those with cases of arthritis, malaria, high blood pressure and so on’’.
The team also had a dental section where persons with tooth aches and other oral health challenges were attended to and offered treatment and also counseled on oral health and hygiene. There was equally eye clinic section where persons with eye problems were attended. Treatment and free eye glasses were also given to such patients.
The leader of the team, Mr. Patrick Nkemdiche , noted that the philosophy behind the free healthcare programme by the Anioma Association Incorporation is the obligation to give back to the people, especially the less privileged in the society. He added that it is a humanitarian gesture aimed at complementing government’s efforts at healthcare provision
He expressed surprise on discovering that high blood pressure, which hitherto was considered ailment of the aged was no longer so as most of the youths attended to were diagnosed with high blood pressure in the range of 160 to 155.
He urged those in this category to endeavour to go for random medical checkup, watch their intake of salt, check their life style and do more exercises to help them
Dr. Sunny Ikemdiche, another member of the team listed the range of free health services being offered to include oral health, stress management, arthritis, personal hygiene, nutrition, eye disorder etc, adding, ‘’our motivation is to give back to the society with particular focus on the less privileged because we felt we have been blessed by God and needed to make our people feel the impact of God’s blessings in our lives’’.
While urging other privileged associations and well meaning Nigerians, including those in the Diaspora to give in any way they can to the society, he said it pays a lot to leave a worthy legacy.
“We attended to over five hundred persons yesterday. This is the second day; we have already exceeded that number and still counting’’. He noted that they encountered some challenges but they were able to overcome them all, adding that the State government was able to come to their aid in giving some assistance. He adjudged the program a huge success.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nwanua, a widow, who spoke with The Pointer, disclosed that she has been experiencing tooth ache for over a year but had no means of seeking orthodox oral care adding that all the alternative means she adopted failed. “I have been given several drugs for my teeth. Some of the drugs they gave me was once prescribed for me by a pharmacist, and cost over 12, 000 naira. Those drugs and some other ones were given to me free of charge”, he said.
Another man who benefited from the free medical service, Mr. Okonji Felix commended the team saying that he had his blood pressure, sugar lever, temperature, oxygen, and eye checked and was given series of drugs at he was diabetic and occasionally had high blood pressure. “I was equally given free eye glasses. I pray God to bless them and replenish their resources greatly in Jesus name”, he prayed.
Ogechi Dumbili was full of praises for the team, she said, “This people have removed burden of over 20,000 naira from me. I was looking for N15,000 to get a new medicated eye glasses, which I have not been able to get. I have been given an eyes glass and some drugs including eye drop”, she disclosed.
“I bought two of my children who have been sick for two weeks now, after self medication failed us because of FMC that is on strike. Me and my children were attended to and given free drugs. They did series of medical examinations for us. They even gave us the beneficiaries snacks and water. I am glad we benefited. May God bless them as they come to bless us the poor people. ”, Mrs. Nwaka Favour remarked.