Nigerian Army conducts medical outreach in Nigerian-Cameroon border community

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By Christian Njoku
The Nigerian Army on Tuesday conducted a free medical outreach in Belegete, a border community with Cameroon, in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the outreach is part of the army’s non kinetic effort in communities.

NAN also reports that services carried out during the outreach include consultations, test for malaria, typhoid fevers, blood sugar and pressure as well as the distribution of drugs.

Belegete is a border community with Cameroon and one of the hard-to-reach areas in Cross River with undulating terrain, no access road, telecommunication network or electricity.

Speaking on the outreach, Brig.-Gen. Muftau Ibrahim, the Commander 13 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Calabar, said it was conducted in order to provide medical services for residents of the community.

Ibrahim also said that it was organised to reassure residents in the Nigerian-Cameroon border communities that the Nigerian Army was ready to stop the illicit activities of rebels on the country’s territory.

”In line with Nigerian Army’s constitutional responsibilities of protecting lives and deterring violent aggression, troops of 13 Brigade conducted series of operations along the Nigerian-Cameroon border.

”This is to check incursions into Nigerian territory.

”The Nigerian Army operations have successfully denied the rebels freedom of action, leading to an effective containment of the Ambazonia threat in Nigerian border communities in spite of its difficult topography,” he said.

In his remarks, Mr Simon Akor, the community’s leader, disclosed that some pregnant women as well as sick people had been lost due to non-accessibility of medical care occasioned by the difficult terrain.

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Akor expressed appreciation to the Nigerian army for carrying out the outreach in Belegete.

He added that residents of the community had suffered seriously because of the difficult terrain.

”When a woman is pregnant or someone is sick, he or she is carried by the villagers to climb the hill and valleys through the forest to get to town where you can find a health facility, most times, the patients die on their way.

”We are happy that for the first time the Nigerian Army came here with good drugs and professionals to take care of our health and know how we are doing especially as the community had been attacked in the past by Ambazonians.

”We don’t know who represents us in the Cross River House of Assembly, but we want to use this medium to appeal to the government that we need access road, telecommunication network and a health facility,” he said.

Similarly, Mrs Maria Olia, the Women Leader of the community, said that though there were Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) who help women in the community, there were challenges of moving them when there were complications.

Olia also said that, for the children, they relied on herbs as there was no access road through the forest to town.

Mr Aku Collins, a youth who spoke to NAN, also said that before the outreach they relied on some quack medicine dealers who came from time to time.

He added that though their services were unprofessional, the residents relied on those quacks as they had no choice.

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NAN reports that it takes approximately six to eight hours to move from Butatong, the last town before Belegete, to maneuver through the mountainous terrain and thick rain forest to access Belegete. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Deborah Coker/Dianabasi Effiong

Ismail Abdulaziz

Deputy Editor in Chief,
Solutions Journalism, Website & Multimedia
Abuja.

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