Over 4,000 persons recently benefited from the two-day medical outreaches carried out by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) at Gwallaga community in Bauchi State and Ogbeke/Ukuruta community in Agbani, Enugu State.
In Bauchi, the outreach, which commenced on April 5, 2019, provided health education and counseling, laboratory screening, visual acuity checks and free prescription glasses, dental health services as well as clinical services, minor surgeries and free medications to about 3,000 persons.
According to Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), NAF, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the programme, which is an initiative of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, is part of the humanitarian activities embarked upon by the NAF to enhance civil-military relations whilst providing succour to host communities and ‘winning their hearts and minds’.
Speaking while flagging-off the outreach, the Air Officer Commanding Special Operations Command (AOC SOC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Napoleon Bali, who was represented by the Chief of Staff SOC, AVM Aliyu Bello, reaffirmed the commitment of the NAF to continue providing qualitative healthcare and humanitarian services to host communities and Internally Displaced Persons across the country in order to reduce the burden of preventable diseases and improve the overall well-being of inhabitants.
“Over 3, 000 members of the community benefited from this outreach, which was designed primarily to alleviate the suffering the people who might not be able to afford quality medical care”, he said.
He stated that patients with minor medical issues were diagnosed and treated on the spot while those with more complex cases were referred to the 261 NAF Reference Hospital Bauchi for further evaluation and care.
He noted that the free healthcare services would also be extended to other communities in Bauchi like Durum, Koho and Malmo in the following days. The AOC seized the opportunity to thank the government and people of Bauchi State for their hospitality and support to the NAF.
Expressing his delight, the Mai Angwan Gwallaga, Alhaji Dan Dada Ahmadu, appreciated the leadership of the NAF for bringing succour to the people of the Community. He also thanked the service for its immense contributions in ensuring security in Bauchi State.
In the same vein, NAF also carried out another outreach at Ogbeke/Ukuruta community in Agbani, Enugu State.
The two-day event, which was part of activities to commemorate NAF’s 55th Anniversary celebration, provided healthcare and humanitarian services to over 1,000 members of the benefiting community, including women, children and the aged, and was conducted in furtherance of NAF’s constitutional role of providing military aid to civil authority.
The Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command (AOC GTC), Air Vice Marshal Idi Amin, while flagging-off the programme also said the outreach was an initiative of the CAS, geared towards addressing the healthcare challenges and alleviating the suffering of members of host communities of NAF Bases across the country.
Also speaking during the ceremony, the traditional ruler of Ogbeke/Ukuruta community, Igwe Okechukwu Nwobodo, expressed appreciation to the CAS for organising the medical outreach for the community.
He pointed out that given that the outreach has enhanced the relationship between the community, and the NAF, more slots should be given to their children in the Air Force Comprehensive School, Agbani.
Services provided during the outreach included free consultations and drugs, laboratory investigations, visual acuity checks and prescription eyeglasses as well as treated mosquito nets. Patients with serious conditions were referred to the NAF Medical Centre Agbani, for further medical care.