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Abia Govt. organises free medical outreach to treat 5,000 persons



The Abia Government says it will commence a free medical outreach aimed at providing treatment for 5,000 persons and conducting no fewer than 200 surgeries in the state.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo, made this known on Monday during a press briefing on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting at the Government House, Umuahia.

Okoronkwo said that the government would be working in collaboration with the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) to offer Medicare to indigent and vulnerable individuals in Abia.

She said that 81 physicians were expected to offer medicare during the programme which has been slated to hold from April 4 to 14.

“We are going to be hosting some of the top surgeons that you have in the United States and they are coming to conduct some very rare surgeries that you don’t get to do here in Abia.

”Some of the surgeries cost so much. For example, colonoscopy that would be available to some people. If you have to do colonoscopy in Nigeria, you have to go to Abuja.

“Now that it is going to be available here, it is something that everyone should take advantage of,” she said.
She said that free testing would commence on Saturday, aimed at preparing the patients and their cases for the programme.

Okoronkwo said that the centers for the testing would be the Federal Medical Center, Umuahia, and the Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Aba, because they have the capacity for specialised testing.

“For people above 40 years, I would advise you to visit the center if you have need for such care that qualifies you to have access to get the colonoscopy treatment when the surgeons arrive.

“The Prostate Specific-Antigen testing will also be available in all the centers.

“I urge the people of Abia to present some very challenging surgeries and take advantage of the free medical outreach programme,” she added.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Mr Okey Kanu, said that the government had commenced active preparations to ensure that the medical outreach would be a success.

He said that 65 centers had been identified for the registration of interested persons and encouraged residents to register particularly those that have very serious needs for surgeries and health issues.

He also urged residents to register early, adding that this would enable the physicians to offer medical treatment and perform surgery for a lot of persons during the programme.

“The whole objective is to ensure that the average person in Abia is provided free and easy access to quality healthcare services and facilities,” Kanu added.

In a related development, the Senior Special Assistant to the Abia Governor on Special Duties, Dr Betty Obasi, said that the government would be organizing a week-long event to commemorate the 2024 World Glaucoma Day.

Obasi said that the event would take place from March 10 to 16 and added that the week-long event would be used to create massive awareness on the dangers of Glaucoma across the state.

According to her, Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness in our society and the disease has no known cure.

She said that the only way one could know that one had Glaucoma is by visiting an eye clinic for screening,
Obasi added that in most cases people visit the eye clinic when they start presenting visible signs and symptoms of the disease and at this point the person could be described as being clinically blind.

She said that a lot of misconceptions were associated with Glaucoma and this had contributed to the prevalence of the disease in our society.

Obasi said that there would be massive enlightenment campaigns in rural communities on the dangers of Glaucoma, importance of early detection and religiously taking the Glaucoma medication when treating the disease.

She said that the government had secured seven eye screening centers across the three senatorial zones for Abia residents, and added that plans were underway to get more centers before the celebration week.

“We will be on radio and television, distribute leaflets written in Igbo and English for everybody to understand.

“The schools will not be left out as we would have people going to the schools because the earlier you catch them it means you are already solving the problem,” she added.

“We will be engaging with the local government areas, the Transition Committee Chairmen, traditional rulers and community leaders,” Obasi indicated.

Ihechinyere Chigemeri-uwom

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