Awa Afaha Clan lauds daughter, others for free medical outreach
At a time when the difference between staying alive and dying in recession-hit homes could be just N1, 000 worth of drugs, some families still find it impossible to fork out such amount for their medical needs.
If situations like these occur in urban areas, then rural dwellers could be suffering severe pangs of ill health, and attendant untimely deaths.
But the people of Awa Afaha Clan, in Onna Local Council of Akwa Ibom State, recently had cause to be grateful to one of theirs, Dr. Ini Ray Inyang, a United States-based medical practitioner, who through her non-governmental organisation (NGO), Care Bridge Foundation, recently rendered free medical services to them.
The medical outreach, which was organised in conjunction with the Akwa Ibom State Association of Nigeria (AKISAN), Florida Chapter, and Ibom Community Health Alliance, saw over 40 health workers, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and others, provide non-surgical medical services to hundreds of people in the area.
The services rendered included hypertension, diabetes, malaria, breast and prostate cancers checks, as well as treatment of aches and pains. Others were screening for HIV/AIDS, ulcers and other infections.
Expectedly, the gesture, the first of its kind in the clan got widespread commendation from the community, with Chief Walter Samuel Adiakpan, thanking the donor for remembering the community from far away Florida.
“It is a good and new development; the type we have not seen before in this area. For our daughter overseas to remember us and decide to bring this to her people in the village, we see the step as a commendable feat.
“It is something that should be continued periodically as such will give us that sense of belonging; we are grateful to our daughter; the medication given to us are good because the volunteer doctors are known to us to be good ones. I advised other Awa Afaha sons and daughters to emulate this kind gesture, by bringing good things they see outside to the village.”
On his part, Clan Head of Awa Afaha Clan, Etebom Raymond Inyang, who described the exercise as a show of love for the people, explained that the idea was initiated in September this year, when he visited the United States, and met Dr. Inyang, who was ready and willing to bring her expertise and resource to bear on the scheme.
“We have never had this kind of programme before; it is something that should be done periodically to give the people a sense of belonging. We are very grateful to the organisers of this noble cause,” he added.
The royal father who thanked the foundation and its partners, hoped that the programme would be extended to the entire local council subsequently.
According to Dr. Inyang, “As a proud daughter of Awa Afaha Clan, I thought it necessary to come home and contribute my quota to the good health of my people, by availing them an opportunity for free medical check-up. I feel people who are healthy are stronger. So, with the little resources we have, we can make a difference.
“I am so impressed with the turn out, I least expected this, but I am happy because I have a volunteer medical team that is able to cope with the turn out.”
Nearly overwhelmed by the massive turnout, Inyang, who said subsequent exercises would be for one week added, “It is important to give back to the society after we have gone out there to see the world. It is our responsibility to come back and provide an important service to the people. This time I am carrying out a non-surgical free healthcare scheme, but the goal is that it will include surgery in future,’’ she said.
Dr. Taiwo Jacobs, who coordinated the volunteer medical team, described the exercise as a success, as more than 2, 000 persons benefitted.
According to the health workers, the most prevalent ailments that the people were diagnosed of were malaria fever, diabetes and hypertension.
Majority of the beneficiary who spoke to The Guardian thanked the sponsor and organisers for coming to their aid, saying such interventions were capable of saving lives that could have been lost, owing to ignorance of ones health status, or lack of finances to procure relevant drugs.
Insisting that poverty leads to early deaths, they expressed joy that the drugs given to them would help address their situations pending when they would be able to source for funds to follow up on further treatment.
An appreciative 24-year-old housewife, Eka Ntiedo Akpan, whose daughter was treated by the team, thanked the organisers for their magnanimity and asked for more of such services in future.
Among those who benefitted from the scheme were village heads, children, men and women.
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