A TEAM of doctors and medical assistants from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Medical School in Nnewi, Anambra State, was recently in the Ojoto Community of the State. to provide free medical services to the residents.
Led by Dr. Chinelo Okigbo, a health practitioner at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA, the team conducted tests and treatment for prevalent yet silent killer diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity. There was also counselling on malaria prevention, hygiene and healthy living. Over 1,000 persons benefitted from the free medical programme that was facilitated by Mr. Patrick Okigbo III, Principal Partner of Nextier Advisory and brother to Dr. Chinelo Okigbo.
The programme is part of the outfit’s commitment to community development, Okigbo noted. Nextier Advisory, a leading public sector advisory and investment firm based in Abuja with specific focus on agriculture, power and petroleum industries, is committed to funding grassroots humanitarian efforts in healthcare, education, and enterprise.
In a chat, Okigbo said free medical programmes have become a critical effort by his firm. The current one, was the second in series in Ojoto after the debut in 2008. The firm collaborates with committed individuals and groups in a community to identify the best form of intervention that will yield the most impact.
Once decided, Nextier Advisory contributes a percentage of the programme cost while their community partners contribute the balance. Ojoto Akanasato Union under the leadership of its president, Prince Amobi Adirika (former Managing Director of Anambra Broadcasting Service), took care of the logistics for the visiting medical team. Essence of the programme is to foster a sense of community ownership.
One of the beneficiaries, Madam Gladys Okeke, prayed for commitment and resources to sustain the programme while another, Mrs. Ego Nnoluka, who was diagnosed with high blood pressure, said she had learned how to manage her condition.
Ms. Vivian Egbuna, Matron of the community health centre however expressed need for a resident doctor at the health center noting that “Even a Youth Corper doctor would be a great help to this community.”
In her view, Dr. Chinelo Okigbo, a specialist in maternal and child healthcare, confirmed that most of the deaths in the local communities were from preventable ailments that, if detected early, could have been prevented with lifestyle changes. She promised to analyse the data collated from this and other Nextier-funded medical efforts to develop a policy paper on new approaches to medical intervention in local communities.
The Nextier Advisory CEO acknowledged that the free medical programmes are not the sustainable solution to healthcare delivery in Nigeria, but adduced for sustained intersection of good public policy and concerted action from the private and the public sector.
Hence, Nextier Advisory has committed to continuing their interventions in the local communities.
He acknowledged that the bulk of the solution is with the public sector and its policy choices; however, he affirmed that there is a lot that can be done by individuals. “When a small group of thoughtful, committed people apply themselves to a problem, miracles begin to happen. I believe there are enough of us to change Nigeria.”