By Okeoghene Akubuike
No fewer than 10,000 IDPs in the FCT will benefit from free medical outreach organised by the Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace (COFP) in collaboration with African Medical Missions.
Rev. Sister Agatha Chikelue, the Executive Director of the Onaiyekan Foundation, disclosed this during the outreach programme for IDPs in Kabusa on Monday in Abuja.
Chikelue said that the one week programme was borne out of the desire to reach out to the poor and the less privileged, especially the IDPs.
She said the outreach was targeted at 10,000 IDPs in Kabusa and Wassa IDP camp and their host community.
“We all know the plight of the people living in our IDP camps, a lot of them do not have access to quality healthcare services.
“So the Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace and our partners in the U.S., who have also been going round other African countries, decided to offer free medical services to the IDPs.
“It is a team of 27 medical doctors, nurses and volunteers who have come here to help us treat the less privileged in the society, especially those who cannot afford to access quality healthcare services.
“The team from the U.S. also believe this is the best way to evangelise and bring the love of Christ to people in the society.
“This is the vacation time in Europe and America and instead of going to have fun, they decided to come to Nigeria to help our less privileged.”
Chikelue said that the medicines and equipment the mission brought was to cover for 10,000 people, both men, children and adults.
She said tooth operations, eye checks, treatment for hypertension, diabetes, infection, typhoid, malaria, skin infections, among others will be conducted.
Dr Kevin White, the Director, West African Community Missions, said they were in Nigeria as Catholic Christians to treat the IDPs, support the community and help those who were sick and in need.
White said that the team was made up of 27 doctors from California, U.S., who volunteered to be in Nigeria during their vacation.
“All of us here are volunteers and these doctors gave up their vacation, paid for their tickets to come here out of a desire to bless Nigeria and help the people in need.
“So for us it is a very important problem that we are here to help solve.
“We can only make a small dent in the problem, we cannot solve the problem, we are here to help do what we can. ”
White, who was also accompanied by his wife Valerie, also a Director of the Mission, said they went on such medical outreaches twice a year all over West Africa.
Rev. Father Aloysius Ezeonyeka, the Parish Priest, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Ventura, California, said political will was needed to address the health challenges in Nigeria.
Ezeonyeka, however said that Nigeria had the resources and personnel to address its health challenges but needed good policies.
“We have the resources, Nigerians are one of the best doctors in the U.S. but the problem is that there are no good policies, government does not care because a lot of them go abroad to treat themselves.
“So they do not care about building hospitals and clinics. So if you are okay you do not care about other people. There is no sense of common good
“We can take care of our population if there is a political will to do it.”
One of the beneficiaries, Halima Musa, thanked the foundation and the team of doctors from the U.S. who brought free medical help to the IDPs.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in addition to the medical checks, sanitary kits, clothing items, among others were also distributed to the IDPs.