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Medical Mission In Abia Targets 5,000 Patients with Free Surgeries, Medical Care

Nigerian and US-trained medical practitioners are uniting to provide free surgeries and medical care for Abia State patients.

No fewer than 60 Nigerian medical practitioners plying their trade in the United States of America have teamed up with 100 their local counterparts to offer healthcare services to indigent patients in Abia State.

The medical mission which commenced on April 4, is going on in three selected health facilities in Umuahia, including Federal Medical Centre(FMC), and the two state-owned Specialist Hospitals in Umuahia and Amachara.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, the Abia State Commissioner for Health, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo, said that the mission which would last for a week, would involve hundreds of surgeries and other medical services.

She said that in the course of the  programme, 70 medical doctors would attend to the needs of 5,000 patients out of which 500 would undergo cataract surgeries while over 300 patients were booked for hernia operations. Those with goitre and fibroid would also receive free surgeries.

“We’ve been planning and waiting for this,” the Commissioner said, adding that the week-long medical mission “is an extension of a project we started last year” which ANPA has now keyed into.

She said that aside giving their services free of charge, the association has also brought in medical supplies and consumables as well as skill transfer.

President of ANPA, Dr Chinyere Anyaogu said that Abia was selected as a beneficiary of ANPA week, because the vision of Governor Alex Otti “aligns with our own”.

“We’re excited to be here,” she announced, adding that the patients would be glad to have benefitted from the medical outreach.

Anyaogu stated that ANPA was looking at the possibility of a long term intervention in Nigeria’s healthcare system by training 1 million healthcare providers from the front line responders.

She said that the japa syndrome which has been draining manpower in Nigeria’s health sector could be minimised with the right policies and incentives.

“If you train people and want them not to japa, you have to encourage them to develop their profession,” she said.

In his remarks, the Chair of the ANPA medical mission, Dr Dele Ekusanmi said that the ANPA members have volunteered their services “for the love of Nigeria” by giving back to  the country they had left for greener pastures.

He said that the association which would be 30 next year has carried out 25 medical missions purely on a voluntary basis, adding that “our mission in ANPA is a healthier Nigeria and a healthier world”.

Corroborating the mission chair, the president-elect of ANPA, Dr Clifford Eke, said that if the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria were in good condition there wouldn’t be a need for medical missions.

He said that though it would not be possible to change the world for everybody to have the best of life, members of ANPA would continue “to do the much we can” help people” with health challenges. “We’re doing this out of the goodness of our hearts,” he said.

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo

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