By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu
No fewer than 500 Onitsha residents, on Sunday, benefited from a free medical and empowerment outreach, organised by the Dr Chioma Awuzie Foundation, a non-governmental organisation.
The medical outreach, which targeted children, men, women and the aged, covered Typhoid, Malaria and Hepatitis B tests, HIV screening, Syphilis, Blood pressure level, Blood sugar level, Urinalysis and distribution of free drugs.
In a speech, the Founder of the group, Dr Chioma Awuzie, said that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory scientists and other healthcare workers were engaged for the exercise meant to bring healthcare to residents of the commercial city.
Awuzie said: “I have a call to reach out to the underprivileged around me, which is why we are holding this medical outreach and empowerment of women and youths.
“We decided to bring healthcare services closer to the people at no cost at all because it is a known fact that access to medicare is a big challenge in Nigeria.
“A lot of people with one underlying ailment or the other are dying in silence because they cannot afford the hospital bills.
“Many women and youths have learnt one trade or the other but do not have the capital and equipment to start up.
“The foundation is empowering some indigent women and youths so they can be economically self-reliant.”
She urged wealthy individuals to reach out to the underprivileged around them to reduce the level of poverty in the country.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), some of the beneficiaries expressed joy over the kind gesture.
Mrs Christiana Chukwuonye, 67, thanked the foundation for availing her the free opportunity to know her health status “without going to hospital”.
Also, Pa Pius Okafor commended the foundation for the outreach and appealed to government to conduct similar medical outreaches in the rural communities.
“I live in the village and we do not get this kind of outreach.
“But today, I have the opportunity to benefit because I visited my children in Onitsha,” Okafor said.
NAN reports that the foundation also distributed clothing materials and food items to indigent widows, donated refrigerators, electrical cooling appliances, clippers, digital cameras and laptops to many women and young entrepreneurs in the area.
It also disbursed start-up funds to petty traders to promote women empowerment and youth investment, in line with its poverty-reduction initiative. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Sam Oditah