No fewer than 700 persons have benefited from the Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) in Anambra State.
The State Coordinator, Mr Kehinde Aremu disclosed this on Monday while declaring the programme open in Ihiala, Ihiala Local Government Area of the state.
He said the patients would be attended to by team made up of six corps medical doctors, four pharmacists, six nurses, three physiotherapist and four laboratory scientists among others paramedics.
He listed services to be rendered to include consultancy services, vital checks, medical advisory, diagnostics, free drugs and referral services, assuring of follow up services by the corps medical personnel.
He said, “HIRD is a flagship programme of the scheme aimed at providing free medical services to indigent members of the society especially rural population through the expertise of corps medical personnel.
“Last year, we attended and treated 722 patients in Anambra East, this year we expect to attend to no fewer 700 people. The mobilisation was massive because we used churches and markets to spread the message.
“We want to give opportunity to poor people so they can also come into the quality Medicare net and not continue to patronise patent medicine dealers because they can’t afford to go to hospital.”
Aremu attributed some of the ‘slumps and sudden deaths’ to the locals’ poor attitude to visit health centers for fitness and medical tests to ascertain their health status.
Appreciating the local government leadership for assisting in mobilizing the residents for the outreach, the coordinator revealed that Ihiala was chosen based on its far distance from Awka, the capital city.
“The farther the people are from places where good facilities are available, the more difficult it will be to access them,” he added.
Assistant Director, NYSC Community Development Services, Mrs Benedith Nwokeke, charged residents of the area to take advantage of the exercise to find out their health status, as well as manage them well.
Earlier, Transition Committee Chairman, Ihiala Local Government Area, Hon. Jude Obi, represented by the Secretary to the Council, Hon. Jerome Madu, commended NYSC for the initiative, assuring the management of maximum support and cooperation.