By Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has commenced a two-week medical outreach for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Damboa Local Government Areas of Borno State, in continuation with the series of efforts aimed at alleviating the plights of IDPs.
Olatokunbo Adesanya, an Air Vice Marshal and Director of Public Relations and Information in a statement issued on Sunday said the free medicare with the theme, “Alleviating the Medical/Surgical Needs of IDPs in Maiduguri and Damboa”, also involved surgical interventions for those with complicated and critical health challenges.
He quoted Azubuike Chukwuka, a Group Captain and the leader of the NAF Medical Outreach Team, that the outreach programme was at the instance of Sadique Abubakar, the Chief of the Air staff (CAS), to assuage the sufferings of the IDPs as well as enhancing civil military relations, as part of the ‘winning the hearts and minds’ strategy of the NAF.
“Since the commencement of the exercise on 13 February 2018, the NAF Medical Outreach Team has conducted a total of 71 eye surgeries and 31 general surgeries on IDPs in Maiduguri and Damboa. At Damboa alone, 32 eye surgeries and 10 general surgeries have been conducted on IDPs, after screening 682 of them who had various eye-related ailments.
“In addition, the NAF Medical Outreach Team has so far provided free medical treatment to 590 IDPs at Damboa alone. Therefore, a total of 1272 IDPs have been successfully attended to in Damboa while more are expected to benefit from the NAF humanitarian intervention scheme, which is still ongoing.
“The beneficiaries were full of appreciation to the NAF for the humanitarian gesture and therefore thanked the CAS for the initiative, which had reportedly added much value to their lives. The beneficiaries also called on well meaning Nigerians and organisations to emulate the NAF noting that the intervention could not have come at a better time than now as most of the IDPs cannot afford the cost for such surgeries if left to foot the bills.
“It is significant to note that the NAF had carried out such free medical interventions in all geo-political zones of the country, with the most recent successfully conducted at Enugu, Bakassi and Makurdi. According to Group Captain Azubuike Chukwuka, the exercise is expected to end on 1 March 2018,” it said.