By Chioma Onuegbu
UYO— LAST week witnessed about 3,000 less privileged persons from across Akwa Ibom State and particularly from Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area receiving free medical services from their citizens in the Diaspora under the aegis of “Ibesikpo Asutan Organisation California Incorporated’ in collaboration with the council.
NDV observed that the week-long medical outreach which held at Imaobong Missionary Outreach Medical Centre in Mbak Ekpe, Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area covered free HIV test, eye test, fibroid surgery, distribution of drugs to persons suffering from diabetes, typhoid, high blood pressure, malaria infection among other health issues.
Some indigenes of the area who spoke with NDV described the project embarked upon by their citizens in California as amazing and worthy of emulation
Mrs. Comfort Williams, who said she was there to see things for herself added: “As an indigene of this community, I can tell you that I am overwhelmed. I am not ill, l decided to see if they are real.
“I think they have been able to touch no fewer than 5,000 lives since they started, going by the number of people they attend to on daily basis. I went to the clinic in town where they are carrying out some surgeries and saw the number of people they listed for surgery. It has never been this good here. They are real.
“They came really, really poised to touch the lives of their people. The impact has been tremendous. I remember that they have done this for two years but it was not this massive. I really appreciate them, I feel good about this and I ask God to bless them. This is a sacrifice that many other individuals can emulate.
“I was told that indigenes of Nsit Ubium carried out similar thing. It is a thing of joy that they came from the US trying to help less privileged people in their community. This is what government is always talking about, that individuals who are well placed should not stack their money in the banks but use it to touch the less privileged in our communities.
“And I think that they are also doing intervention in education. I believe in this kind of empowerment because it is a great thing to find people who care in life, come together to help in their communities.”
A beneficiary, Mrs. Cecilia Brown from Obotidem Ibesikpo Asutan said: “I came for eye test. I heard about this just yesterday night from a friend and I decided to come. And I feel real good because even as I came today, which is the last day, I have been attended to. I have here with me my reading glasses. I have been looking for this opportunity so I ask God to bless those that organised it. I am very, very happy.”
Why we embarked on programme— Coordinator
The project coordinator, Mrs. Iniobong Archibong Uboh who said she could not give the exact figure of those treated at the moment, though their projection was 300 persons daily, however, said their reason for treating different ailments was because when they visited last year just for people with vision problem, they discovered that many people complained about diabetes, high blood pressure and malaria but they didn’t have personnel for then.
“So when I went back to the US, we put heads together and say let’s try and see how we can come back and we started working hard towards it to ensure things are in place for us to come back. Here we are and so far, so good. I am happy for a successful mission here”
Mrs. Uboh appreciated prominent indigenes of Ibesikpo Asutan who assisted in various ways including accommodation and mobilization of the residents.
“From my heart I appreciate them. We will continue the project based on the need and support of the community, but l don’t think we are coming here next year. And I appreciate members of the organization for not discriminating. It is not only indigenes of Ibesikpo Asutan, we are serving the entire state and neighbouring States of Calabar, Abia especially for the eyes.
“So the need is not only for us and we don’t discriminate. We are treating everyone based on the limited resources that we have. Even other local governments have invited me for the eye treatment which I don’t know how I am going to do that.”
Time to give back to community—Nurse
On her part Enobong Inyang a nurse from California, and indigene of Nung Udoe Ibesikpo Asutan said, “We came to help the less privileged ones in our rural areas. So I am here to give back to the community. Back in the US we have been watching, and hearing a lot of the less privileged ones who cannot afford the money to go the hospital or have surgery.
“So we decided to see what we can do to help one way or the other to alleviate their suffering. That is why we are here. Also this is a non-profit organization, so we all volunteered to do this, we paid for our transport”
The Vice Chairman of Ibesikpo Local government council Mr. Ubong Jonah commended their indigenes in the US for the gesture saying, “This effort is encouraging because there are people suffering from one ailment or the other but cannot afford hospital bills due to their financial status. So this is a unique opportunity for them to get treated.”