June 22, 2009

Pilgrimage: NCPC vows to conduct pregnancy test

By Chinyere Amalu

ABUJA—AS the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) gets ready for the 2009 Pilgrimage exercise to Israel, it has vowed to carry out pregnancy test at the point of departure for every woman within child bearing age that is participating in the exercise.

Also the Commission has warned all the Medical Doctors certifying intending pilgrims to desist from abetting or aiding sick persons as they stand the chance of losing their professional licence.

The Executive Secretary of the Commission Mr. Kennedy Okpara who disclosed this in an exclusive interview to Vanguard said arrangement has been concluded to ensure that only qualified individuals participate in the Holy exercise.

He said, “This measure we are taking is to ensure that what happened last year does not repeat itself. It is very embarrassing that a pilgrim gives birth in Israel while performing the exercise. It is also saddening that people die at the Holy site because they managed to manipulate their way during the screening exercise.

“What we have done is to procure medical equipment at the point of departure whereby women that is within that age limit are subjected to test which gives the result within 3-5 minutes. We are working closely with medical teams headed by Dr. Tali.
They have already come up with all the necessary equipment”.

On the sick persons, he said, “We are now challenging medical doctors to be honest while certifying a candidate.

We have printed forms that would be attached to the pilgrimage forms, where the doctors will fill their medical practice licence so that if we eventually discover that he concealed or aided a sick person by giving him/her clean health bill we will get his licence withdrawn”.

He said the Commission would write to the Medical Association of Nigeria, calling for the withdrawal of licence of such doctor. “We want to ensure that the 2009 exercise is  hitch free and everything thing to ensure this has been concluded”, he said.