By Imelda Osayande
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Monday said it was targeting 15,000 patients for its two-day medical outreach designed to meet the medical needs of the people of lrhirhi community in Oredo local government area of Edo.
The Air Officer Commanding, Tactical Air Command (TAC), Makurdi, AVM Charles Ohwo, represented the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the inauguration of the programme in Benin.
Abubakar said that the medical outreach was also designed to boost the relationship between the command and its host community in Edo.
He said: “The objective of the medical outreach is to help ameliorate the health burden of the community and further enhance the cordial relationship by ensuring availability of quality medical care to its host communities.
“The efforts by NAF have encouraged communities to freely and willingly provide useful intelligence that has helped NAF to record significant successes in all theaters of operations she is involved.”
Abubakar urged the people of the community to avail themselves of the golden opportunity and participate in the programme.
Group Capt. Nasiru Saidu, Commander 107 Air Maritime Group, NAF, Benin, said Irhirhi community, which is one of the host communities, had enjoyed cordial relationship with NAF since the establishment of Air Force Base in Oko.
Saidu said that the programme was dear to the heart of the Chief of Air Staff, especially as it related to social responsibility to host communities
Saidu said the medical outreach would provide free consultation, distribution of treated mosquito nets, surgery, laboratory investigations, drugs and issuance of eye glasses, among others.
Dr. Irowa Osamwonyi, the Permanent Secretary, Edo Ministry of Health, described the free medical outreach as unique.
“The outreach is from the basic to specialised healthcare service, including Opthalmology and dental services.
“It will improve the relationship between the community and the airforce and make the people feel that the military is for them,” Osamwonyi said.
He commended NAF for the programme, adding that the state government would partner with the command to ensure the success of the programme.
He called on other instituions in the state to emulate the military and help in providing healthcare for the rural dwellers.
The Community Head, Pa Omoruyu Osemwunghe, who received a pair of glasses during the outreach, commended NAF for paying priority attention to the health of the host community.
Osemwunghe assured the command of continued peace and cooperation from the community.
He further appealed to the state government to rehabilitate the primary school in the area.
The state Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Valentine Omoefo, called for more collaboration between instituions and government in the health sector to give the people free access to healthcare services. (NAN)