By Jude Atupulazi
Members of the Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba, KSM, Nigeria, last week assembled top medical practitioners from its ranks for its first free medical mission in the rural community of Amanuke in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State. Led by the Onitsha Metropolitan Grant Knight of KSM, Sir Damian Okolo, and Grand Knights, as well as Metropolitan officers, the medical personnel, comprising 20 doctors, six pharmacists, eight nurses and other health personnel, offered health care services to no fewer than 1000 people made up of the aged and the young, including school children.
The scope of the exercise included health education, treatment of common health conditions, mass de-worming exercise, free screening for diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
Apart from diagnosing their ailments, the patients were given drugs and those whose conditions were serious were referred to hospitals for further treatment. Many people were also offered free eye glasses and because of the large number of people that required treatment, the exercise was extended by one day.
Okolo said the programme was put in place by KSM to assist various communities in the seven Catholic Dioceses of Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, Enugu, Abakaliki, Nsukka and Awgu that make up Onitsha Metropolitan Council of KSM, adding that Awka Diocese took the first turn.
He commended the people of Amanuke for coming out enmass to participate in the exercise and the Anambra State government for providing the Amanuke General Hospital facilities to ensure the success of the programme.
According to him, the support and active involvement of the leadership of Amanuke community justified the huge investment made by KSM in terms of acquiring the necessary drugs and other medicaments needed for the programme.
Giving the background to the medical mission, the Onitsha Metropolitan Physician, Dr. Michael Ejeh said it was designed by the Supreme Executive Board, SEB, of KSM to reach out to the people through free medical services.
He said: “The SEB, in its wisdom, decided to introduce the medical mission as part of its activities and service to the people, particularly those living in the rural communities. So far, the SEB had organized three medical missions in various parts of the country.
“The first was in 2016 at Igueben in Edo State, which is the birthplace of the founder of KSM, Reverend Father Abraham Isidahome Ojefua; the second one took place in Abuja in 2017, while the third was in Ilorin, Kwara State in 2018.
“However, the current Supreme Physician felt the need to organize the free medical mission at the Metropolitan Council levels to run side by side with the one organized by the Supreme Council, which was why the Onitsha Metro Council decided to organize it in Awka zone.
“We are aware that the health indices of the third world countries, including Nigeria, remain abysmal and worrisome. In the face of this poor health condition and the poor economic environment facing our people, it is only natural that love of our neighbours should move good people of God to show love by making sacrifices to ameliorate the sufferings of many in our society.”
President General of Amanuke community, Chief Nnamdi Maduka said the joy of his people knew no bounds, adding that the community had never experienced something like this in the past in which patients were diagnosed and given drugs for their ailments free of charge.
Maduka was, however, worried about the condition of the General Hospital in the community, saying that although there is one medical officer in charge of the hospital, there is virtually no activity in the hospital.
He urged the Knights to use their influence to prevail on the Anambra State government to come to the aid of the hospital to reduce disease conditions among the people.
Also speaking, the Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on General Hospitals, Mrs. Amaka Arinze said she was particularly elated that many aged people benefitted from the free health programme.
She commended the KSM for caring for the sick people, promising that government would soon intervene to improve facilities at the Amanuke General Hospital.
Sir Boniface Orakwe, who coordinated the medical outreach for Awka zone of KSM said it was a good decision to select Amanuke for the exercise because, apart from being a very rural community, the area has many aged men and women who require medical attention.
Orakwe also commended the Grand Knights in Awka zone for giving full support to the programme, noting that it was in line with the principle of KSM, which requires members to contribute their time, talent and treasure in the service of humanity.