…Outreach Records Low Turnout
By Chioma Ndife
The people of Ugwuoba in Oji LGA of Enugu State have received succour to the medical challenges facing them from Archbishop Maxwell International Pastoral Care Resource Centre, Awka, through the centre’s medical outreach.
The medical outreach held on Saturday, August 11, 2018, at Central Primary School, Ugwuoba, was organized by Archbishop Maxwell Anakwenwa Foundation to address the advanced medical condition of people in the area. over 1000 persons
benefitted from it .
The programme focused primarily on screening and treatment of high blood pressure, malaria, diabetes, hepatitis B and C, arthritis, blood sugar, typhoid, body mass index screening, and vitamin deficiencies.
It also focused on creating awareness on the benefit of proper hygiene, best practices in health management and the need for routine check-up through consulting sessions offered by the team at the outreach. Free preventive and curative drugs were subsequently given to the beneficiaries.
Speaking to Journalists, the chairman of Archbishop Maxwell Pastoral Care Foundation, Prof. Anthony Ikpechukwu Agbata, said the outreach was geared towards providing medical services to those who could not afford, in line with the primary objective of Archbishop Anikwenwa Pastoral Care Foundation.
He said that the medical outreach of the foundation targeted communities which were marginalized and not easily accessible to give the indigenes a sense of belonging and make an impact as it related to health care in the lives of the people.
He disclosed that the foundation which had existed for about 7 years in Nigeria, had another chapter in the United States of America were the finance for the sponsorship of the various medical outreaches came from. He said that the foundation had extended health and pastoral care to millions of people in their different outreaches in different communities.
He stated that the medical outreach hoped to get across to as many persons as possible, saying that the foundation had provision for over 20, 000 individuals to be attended to through the drugs made available and medical personnel engaged in the exercise. He regretted that the medical outreach witnessed a low turnout from the indigenes, despite the awareness by the community leaders for the exercise.
Contributing, the Secretary of Archbishop Maxwell Care Pastoral Centre, Mr. Ikechukwu Abana, said the free medical mission hoped to carter for the medical needs of all the indigenes of Ugwuoba Community and educate the people as it related to their health needs. He said the foundation had been to Ugbenu, Ntoko, Ugwuaniocha, Amanuke and others. He said that the outreach came every two to three months.
Also speaking, the head of the medical team, Dr. Obinna Aniagboso, revealed that the Ugwuoba people, being mostly farmers, were faced with osteoarthritis, uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, untreated malaria and waist pain were prevalent among the people.
The medical team according to the doctor, offered advice on the best daily practices which the people should adopt for healthier living, advocating for more of balanced diet and avoidance of fatty foods. He encouraged the people to maintain their regular visits to the farms as it provided the exercise required by the body and made them active individuals.
Dr. Aniagboso disclosed that the medical team, through the yearly free medical outreach sponsored by Archbishop Anikwenwa extended to many rural communities to offer best medical practices to be adopted by those without access to medical facilities due to the inexistence and poor maintenace of most medical centres in the country.
He said that the medical team, while administering treatment to the chronic non-communicable diseases presented in the outreach, the team discovered that people with hypertension were mostly not compliant, saying that people in most towns and communities like Ugwuoba, did not have steady access to free medical teams, either due to ignorance or poverty.
He described the outreach as an opportunity for the medical team to consult them, prescribe free drugs and encourage people to be compliant in their medication and health practices. He said that the female participation in the outreach outweighed that of the male participation and decried the low turnout of people.
The head of the pharmaceutical team, Rose Nnoyelum disclosed that malaria, hypertensive and diabetes drugs, were mostly given to the people sequel to the screening conducted by the medical doctors in relation to other drugs made available by the organizers of the outreach.
For their part, the President General of Ugwuoba Development Union, Ossy Omah and the Onowu of Ugwuoba Autonomous Community, who was also a prince of the community, Chief Clem Onu, described the medical outreach as one of a kind, noting that the community had not experienced such outreach before.
They commended the initiative and said that the medical services offered by the team had assisted in solving the health challenges of people at the grassroots. They maintained that the community members had been able to save millions of naira as all the services were given free of charge. They attributed the low turnout of people who participated in the free medical outreach to the primitive belief of the people that most medical outreaches did not come free and that whenever it was free, it must be done by people with ulterior motives.
In separate interviews, three beneficiaries, Bridget Ekwutosi Omah, Stella Nwata and Amaechi Nkwoagu, who were diagnosed with malaria, diabetes and high blood pressure, thanked the benefactor for bringing health care services to their doorsteps and offering free drugs to them. They disclosed that the outreach was the first massive one to be organized in the community as many people were attended to unlike in the past where just 20 individuals would be captured in an outreach.