The Beneficiaries of the free medical outreach, an initiative of Right Hon. Toby Okechukwu, Member Representing Awgu, Oji-River and Aninri Federal Constituency have shared their experiences; asking God to bless the man behind the program.
The Program which lasted for over five Days at UNTH Outpost, Ugbo, Awgu LGA enabled many people from Aninri, Agwu and Oji-River local governments to benefit from the Free medical outreach.
Some of the services offered to the patients include free OPF drugs, general/gynae operations, cataract operations, ultra sound scans, Lab tests and free reading glasses.
Speaking to News Center Nigeria, Emmanuel Ibe from Oji-River local government area who was just coming out from the theater said for over three years, he is down with Cataract, and unable to see with one of his eyes
Emmanuel revealed that he was billed N150,000.00 for the Cataract Operation and considering his poor background, and his family financial challenges, he was unable to pay the bill.
He added that fortunately to him, he heard about the Toby Okechukwu’s free medical outreach. He described it as a turning point for him and believe that the surgery will help him beyond getting back his sight, but energize him in his economic activities.
Also, Blessing Ogunna, a native of Aninri who benefitted from the free surgery shared her experience. In her words. “I got to know about the program from our church. I have been having fibroid problem since I started seeing my period, and they said it will stop when I got married; but when I got married it got worsened. I went to hospital and they called a huge amount of money for us and we still hoping to raise the money. When I came here I didn’t spend a single dime and I have the operation done free. I can only thank the doctors and Hon. Toby”. she said.
Another beneficiary, Ebenezer Nkwu, an elderly man in his 60’s narrated how he suffered cataract for 8years “I have been having cataract for the past 8 years in my eye. I first did the surgery for the right eye, and it went to the left eye after 3 years. Since then I have been suffering, using only one eye to see because I didn’t have the money for another surgery” he said
Meanwhile, the Team Leader, Doctors on the move Africa, Dr. Joseph Kigbu stated that the ongoing medical outreach was designed following a need assessment in the communities.
Dr. Joseph added that they have already attended to over 2000 outdoor patients, carried out about 87 general surgeries and 83 cataract surgeries with three days and more are expected to benefit.
In his words “We are doing a comprehensive short term medical mission, having done an assessment of the community, there is a burden of illnesses and surgical needs. We have seen over 2000 patients and still counting, we have done over 87 general surgeries and over 33 cataract surgery etc.
“The need is very strong for this community largely because they do not have sufficient out of pocket expenses to carter for their health needs and the surgical burden”.
“Furthermore the teaching hospital is a bit far from here, and a lot of them are not captured in the national health insurance scheme, so that means they have to source from their personal money to get treated. And the facility does not have the sufficient man power resource in terms of specialist, gynecology, pharmacy and others”.
Meanwhile, the initiator of the free medical outreach and member Representing Awgu, Oji-River and Aninri Federal Constituency, Rt. Honorable Toby Okechukwu stated that the program aims to provide medical intervention, due to the challenges facing the health sector in the rural areas.
“Even when you have the UNTH, everybody can not go there. At rural areas, there are monitory issue, access issue and number of people to be attended to”.
“We are happy that UNTH has outpost here, and they can attend to our people and the idea of inviting doctors on the move is to intervene where we can”.
“In the long run we have planned to ensure its sustainable, by facilitating the establishment of UNTH Outpost here; presently they have two doctors already posted here as well as nurses and other medical practitioners”.
“I felt delighted seeing our people benefiting from this medical outreach, with kids, women and elderly benefiting”.
However, Dr. Godwin Udeughele, Enugu state former commissioner for information and the campaign director of Toby campaign organization as well as Chief Austin Okorie described the free medical outreach as life saving initiative well tailored to the indigent members of the society.
The medical outreach which ends on Sunday the 19th of June promises to hold again in 2023.