By Evelyn Usman
The Primary Health Care Centre in Papa Ajao, the densely populated Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos was a beehive of activities, Thursday, as residents throng there to partake of the free medical rhapsody .
Surprisingly, it turned out that the free medical treatment was neither from the Federal or State Government ,but from the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre (NAFRC) Oshodi.
As first, the unprecedented visit of Military personnel in the area sent fear down the spines of residents, as some of them peeped through their windows and balconies, wondering what could have warranted their presence.
But by the time their mission was known, residents, put calls across to their loved ones, including those who lived outside the local government , to come and partake of the NAFRC gesture.
In no time , the premises was filled to its brim with the old who were walking with the aid of walking sticks, the young, pregnant and ailing residents.
They were taken through a routine consultation with Military doctors listening attentively , to ascertain their conditions. Thereafter, they proceeded to point ‘ B’, the laboratory , where they were screened for HIV, Herpertitis B, Sugar level, High Blood pressure , optical and dental related issues and malaria.
Children were not left out, as they were immunised against measles. Thereafter, they proceeded to the pharmaceutical point where medicines were dispensed , based on what they were diagnosed of.
Also, precautionary tips on heart related issues were reeled out by cardiovascular experts to those concerned .
Free correctional toothpastes and a pair of eye glass were given to those with optical and dental issues, while treated mosquito nets were distributed to all, especially pregnant women.
At about 10am, over 150 persons had been attended to , while others waited patiently for their turn.
The Commandant, NAFRC, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Abubakar-Sadick Liman, disclosed to Saturday Vanguard that the medical rhapsody was a maiden project by the Centre. He explained that it was a practical demonstration of effort to promote civil-military relations , adding that the choice of Mushin was because it was its host community.
Those with medical condition that could not be attended to there, were referred to the Centre’s medical hospital, with the Commandant emphasising that the treatment would also be free.
He said, ” I would like to correct the
wrong impression that military medical facilities do not attend to civilians. I would like you to purge your minds of this erroneous notion as our medical facilities are open to all categories of civilians. No one will harass or deny you access as long as your mission is clearly stated at our gates.
“It is usually said that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Therefore, this medical outreach will in no small way contribute to the health of this community,” he said.
An elated Chairman of Mushin Local Government Area, Mr Emmanuel Gbamgboye, noted that the gesture would not only go a long way to
improve the health conditions of the beneficiaries but that it would also complement the local government ‘s efforts at ensuring the well being of its people.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Risikatu Iginla, created a scene immediately she approached the gate, as she broke down in tears.
On enquiry, the 73-year-old woman said, ” I am crying because I am shocked to find soldiers whose hands are full with security matters , particularly the fight against terrorists, still find time to come carry out free treatment”.
Explaining how she was convinced to come partake of the medical rhapsody, she said, ” When my daughter in-law came to tell me that men in Military uniform were giving free medical treatment, I initially thought they were terrorists who disguised as military personnel. But by the time I was told that the local government chairman was here , I decided to come and see for myself and behold, it is true”, she said wiping her tears with the loose end of her wrapper.
Another 75-year-old woman who simply gave her name as Simbiat, said ” this free treatment came as an answered prayer. I have been suffering of arthritis for 15 years. But three months ago, I was feeling pains on my knees but did not have money to buy mwdicine or go to the hospital because my only child was sacked from work three months ago.
” I jumped at this opportunity when I heard because I know I would at least get pain relief medicine that will ease the pains”.
Other beneficiaries were also full of appreciation for the NAFRC.