By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka- ANAMBRA people living abroad under the auspices of Anambra State Association Worldwide have conducted their annual medical mission in the state during which about 20000 people with various ailments were treated. This year’s edition, which took place in four communities in the state, had about 60 medical personnel of Anambra State origin from all the foreign countries participating
The exercise, which took place in four communities of Abagana in Njikoka local government area, Abatete in Idemili North local government area, Igboukwu in Aguata local government area and Ezinifite also in Aguata, gulp about N100 million raised mainly by members of the association.
President of Anambra State Association Worldwide, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, a medical doctor of international repute, said during the kick off of the programme at Abagana that the annual event, which began 15 years ago, had benefited people in many communities in the state.
According to him, members of the association in the countries where they reside contributed money for the programme as part of efforts aimed at extending quality health care to Nigerians. He said that with the economic hardship in the country, many people no longer afford to pay their hospital bills, adding that it was for that reason that they decided to help the people at home through the medical outreach.
He said: “We come back to our state for this exercise every year. We came from 60 countries all over the world with doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health personnel and we treat people and give eye glasses to those who need them.
“We belong to a Non Governmental Organization, NGO, dedicated to serve our people and the money for the medical mission came from our people all over the world who contribute to help our people at home.
“We have enough medicines that can last for three months even after the winding up of the exercise, in addition to enough medicated eye glasses to go round. Surgeries were also performed and altogether, about 50 people underwent various forms of surgery.”
Another highlight of this year’s exercise was the empowerment of some widows who received some amount of money to enable them to cater for their families and start small-scale businesses.
According to Anakwenze, who is the traditional prime minister of Abagana, eight widows who were considered to be very poor and who do not have people to assist them, were given funds to enable them to pay their children’s school fees to ensure that such children do not drop out of school.
One problem which the exercise faced was logistics. For instance, Anakwenze said that apart from provision of security and transportation, which the Anambra State government provided for the participants, the association had to grapple with hotel accommodation and hiring of local professionals that assisted during the programme. there was no assistance from government, even as he wished that more assistance came from other sources.
“We wished we had some support from government in the area of provision of accommodation and feeding for all the personnel, but such assistance did not come,” he said.