By Nwabueze Okonkwo
ONITSHA – No fewer than 1,500 Anambra State residents are expected to benefit from the on-going free and comprehensive medical care for all programmes being sponsored by the former Minister of Aviation and one-time Corps Marshall and Chief Executive Officer of Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Chief Osita Chidoka (Ike Obosi).
The outreach, which was flagged-off by Chidoka himself at his home town, Obosi, Idemili North Local Government Area of the state, was targeted at all the 179 communities of the state, beginning with Obosi, covering a wide range of medical conditions including malaria and typhoid tests and treatment, hepatitis/retroviral screening, full medical checks, blood pressure checks and diabetes screening, comprehensive eye checks with catarat and glasses, free drugs, amongst others.
Performing the flag-off ceremony, Chidoka explained that the programme was part of the ways he intended to give back to the society, adding that it gives him joy to put some smiles on people’s faces, especially those who cannot help themselves.
According to Chidoka who identified quality education and good healthcare as crucial factors for a productive society, “both the private sector and government must work in a collaborative manner to bring the services to the people, adding: “We have figured out that two things are critical to the survival of any society. These are education and good health.
“Making it possible for people to have good education will prepare them for the society,” he further stated, adding: “But if they don’t have good health, we cannot actualise that vision. So, my attitude as an individual, is that we should contribute our own little quota, without calling on government all the time.
“Governments have promised health for all, governments have tried to bring healthcare to the people but of course, you can see it is not available. This is what I have decided and I have been doing for years now very quietly with the hope of bringing the things we can do for ourselves to the people.
“So, starting from Obosi this time, we will take the medical mission to other parts of the state. I am in touch with some Nigerians in Diaspora who have shown interest to come for medical mission on their own with me providing local support. We are also going to leverage on the network of doctors in Anambra State who have volunteered to work with us on this medical mission.
“Government can do a lot, there is nothing like free education or free healthcare, somebody is paying somewhere. So, what should be done is that in budgeting, government should fund healthcare and education through the private sector and not just building public institutions,” he stated.
The Peoples Democratic Party chieftain disclosed that his prime motivation for rendering the services was the memory of his grandfather, who was an amputee for 68 years but could still train his 12 children because of the medical care he got in his time. He said many Nigerians are where they are today because of their inability to access medical help for treatable ailments, even as he stressed that his commitment is to make the mission a regular programme and modify it to address divergent areas of healthcare.
“Part of what is motivating me is that my grandfather was an amputee, he lost one of his legs during the Second World War and for 68 years, he lived with an artificial leg and the British for him that he was getting renewal of the artificial leg every two years.
“If not for the attention he got, he would have been a destitute but he retired as a civil servant after 35 years, rode his bicycle to work, bought motorcycle and car and trained his 12 children.
“That is why I have always supported people who need artificial legs right from when I was in Federal Road Safety Commission. It is going to be a continuous exercise and in our next mission; we will focus on preventive healthcare like diet, lifestyle, exercises. It is going to be preventive, promotional and prescriptive approach,” he assured.