A Non Governmental Organisation, Health Support Initiative (HSI), weekend conducted a free medical exercise in Okhuoromi community on the outskirts of Benin City as part of activities to mark the 61st birthday of Captain Hosa Okunbo.
Chief Executive Officer of the organisation and Chief Medical Director of Central Hospital, Benin City, Dr Philip Ugbodaga said the initiative was informed by Captain Okunbo’s philanthropy and his commitment over the years to the uplift of the rural poor through his various interventions.
Ugbodaga said the organisation reasoned that rather than commit financial resources to placing congratulatory messages in newspapers to celebrate Captain Okunbo, it decided to replicate his philanthropic disposition by taking healthcare to the poor who ordinarily would have no access to such services.
Ugbodaga said that during its assessment visit to the community, the organisation noticed the lack of health facilities in the area and the inability of residents of most rural communities to afford basic healthcare.
According to him, “Hundreds of people in community and adjoining communities comprising the aged, women and children thronged the venue of the programme to benefit from the free exercise.
“The team was made up of medical experts consisting of consultants in various fields of medicine, nurses, laboratory scientists and paramedical and support staff who screened the beneficiaries for various ailments, including hypertension, diabetes, and malaria with simultaneous treatment of various diagnosed medical conditions.
“The medical personnel also gave health talks on healthy living, HIV Aids, diarrhea, yellow fever, Hepatitis and Lassa fever awareness and sensitization and dental hygiene instructions.”
He said that a deworming of children was also undertaken during the free medical mission.
The Odionwere of the community lauded the initiative and wished the honouree, Captain Okunbo, good health and more celebrations in life.
He took the opportunity to plead for a health centre in the community to cater to the health needs of the people, especially women and children who have to travel several kilometers to access healthcare.
The Ohen of Benin Kingdom, Chief Igbinoba, requested for a repeat of the free medical treatment at regular intervals and also appreciated the organisers for choosing the community for the exercise.
An elderly woman, Osatohanmwen Obasohan, who was one of the beneficiaries of the outreach, thanked the team for the initiative, especially the free hypertension and blood sugar screening.
She said, “I had been ill for a long time but I didn’t have the financial resources to undergo any test or screening because of lack of funds. I was happy to see the doctors and nurses and I thank them for the free drugs they gave to me.
“I really appreciate them for coming to our assistance because with the present economic situation, many of us cannot afford the exorbitant cost of hospital care but our son, Captain Okunbo brought doctors to examine us, conduct tests and give us free drugs. I wish many other rich people can emulate him.”
A media practitioner and co-facilitator of the exercise, Emmanuel Akpolohohor, lauded Captain Okunbo for his many years of service to humanity and hinted at an extension of the programme to other rural communities in Edo State by HSI in his honour.