By Albert OGRAKA:
The founder of 05-Initiative and wife of Delta state governor, Dame (Mrs.) Edith Okowa has formally flagged off the Grassroots Medical Outreach for the 25 local government areas of the state.
This is coming against the backdrop of recent revelation that over 40,000 persons are blind in Delta state while 20,000 mostly women and children affected with cataract.
The free medical outreach which is championed by the 05 Initiative in collaboration with Restore Sight Africa, kicked off on Monday, April 16, 2018 at the General Hospital, Umunede in Ika North East local government area.
The free health campaign by the O5 Initiative is to make health care delivery readily available to the vulnerable group of women and children, including the aged in the society, especially in the rural communities.
Speaking during the flag off, Dame Okowa, stated that the programme is intended to meet the yearnings of the less privileged to have access to free medication, saying that the gesture will be extended to everybody in the 25 LGA in the state.
While lauding the efforts of Restore Sight Africa Initiative (RSAI), Delta State Primary Health Development Agency (DSPHDA) and other donor agencies, the First Lady of Delta state called on Nigerians especially Deltans to carry out selfless services for the good of all.
Dr Mondi Ononye, Commissioner for Health, who highlighted the health development initiatives of Governor Okowa’s administration, including free medical services to pregnant women, under-five children and 20 widows from every ward, revealed that the state government has concluded plans to upgrade the hospital in Umunede.
In his address, Hon Victor Ebonka, Chairman, Ika North East Local Government, said the people are indeed happy for the rare show of patriotism Dame Edith Okowa, saying the programme meant to improve on the health care of the people is a collaborative one with other donor agencies.
“Improved access to good health care is one of the cardinal point of Universal Health Coverage, as well as direct fulfillment of the Governor’s SMART Agenda number four, Relevant Health and Education Policies. This we make bold to say that this move by 05 Initiative will not only make health care delivery, readily available, but will provide succor to the vulnerable group in the society – the women and the children.
“We want to sincerely appreciate the gigantic stride of the 05 Initiative, a pet project of her Excellency, an advocate of Improved Primary Health Care System, UNICEF Nutrition Champion, and the Delta State Primary Health Development Agency, DSPHDA, as they carry out the screening and treatment of malaria, distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets, screening for diabetes, hypertension, HIV, distribution of Family Planning Commodities, eye screening and free eye surgery for cataract in the next two days.”
Also, Dr. Ernest Ogbedo of the Restore Sight Africa Initiative (RSAI) in his speech, said over 40,000 persons are blind in Delta state while 20,000 mostly women and children affected with cataract.
He noted that the Restore Sight Africa Initiative (RSAI) is an organization that cares for the blind in the society who are unable to participate in normal social engagements and warned beneficiaries of the free eye treatment to desist from patronizing herbal medication.
Some beneficiaries of the free grassroots medical outreach, Mrs. Caroline Kadi, Mrs. Maria Egom and Mr. Ikechuckwu Sunday, expressed appreciation to the organizers. They also appealed for the sustainability of the free healthcare services.
Restore Sight Africa Initiative, DSPHDA, and other donor agencies praised the Governors wife for giving them the opportunity to carry out free eye surgery as blindness is common among women and children while also carrying out screening to discover other diseases among the residents in the 25 LGAs in the state.