By Habibu Harisu
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has begun a three-day free medical treatment to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other residents in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the outreach is an annual event organised by NAF to assist less priviledged and other vulnerable persons to access free and quality medicals.
Launching the programme on Saturday in Sabon Birni, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state described the medical outreach as a commendable gesture by NAF.
Tambuwal, represented by Commissioner for Health, Sokoto state, Dr Ali Inname, commended the efforts and urged NAF to extend such gestures to other areas such as education, in view of the availability of diverse expertise in the service.
He said that the 2020 activity that targeted IDPs and others in hard-to-reach communities in the state was demonstration of concern over victims of security challenges.
The governor added that food items and other consumables were provided by the state government to be distributed to beneficiaries along with the treatments.
He lauded the existing cordial relations between the community, NAF officials and other security agencies and urged them to redouble efforts at safeguarding peoples’ lives and protecting Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
In his address, the Director, Medical Services in NAF Headquarters, Group Cpt. Ali Tanko said that the exercise was part of efforts of Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, aimed at enhancing community relations through the provision of humanitarian services.
Tanko said that similar outreaches had been conducted by NAF in the past, noting that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory scientists and other auxiliary health workers, would provide services to beneficiaries free of charge in the exercise.
He added that drugs, eye glasses and other consumables would also be distributed to beneficiaries for free.
According to him, free test will also be conducted along with screening for eye ailments, hepatitis, malaria, diabetes and others.
“Today’s event signifies our commitment to improving our civil-military relationships. It is usually said that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation,” Tanko said.
Speaking also, the Commander 119 Composite Group of Nigerian Air Force, Sokoto, Group Cpt. Garba Bello, said that the exercise would in no small way contribute to the health of the residents in the communities.
Bello said that the exercise comprised health screening including sugar and hepatitis tests to be done along with the general medical examinations.
“Also, there will be distribution of mosquito nets as well as free eyeglasses and dental checks,’’ he said.
The commander told the villagers that the health professionals at the event were ready to assist them with their health concerns.
According to him, those requiring further treatment such as surgeries, will be referred to nearby hospitals.
Earlier, the District Head of Sabon Birni, Alhaji Isa Muhammad, thanked the NAF for conducting the outreach in his community, noting that it would surely enhance people’s well-being.
Muhammad advised members of the community to take advantage of the outreach to access treatment, and stressed the need for the people to continue to live in harmony with security officials.
Some of the beneficiaries, Malam Jajujji Ibrahim, Iliyasu Suleiman and Yusha’u Lawalli, who spoke with NAN expressed happiness over the gesture.
The beneficiaries described the gesture as a lifeline to them, particularly because of the free medical items such as eye glasses and drugs.