Shell Petroleum partners Imo State Govt to provide free healthcare for rural dwellers

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By Victor Nwachukwu

The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in partnership with the Imo Government on Monday flagged off a five-day free medical outreach in Assa North – Ohaji South Access Community Care programme.

The outreach was flagged off by the company’s Governance Lead, Regional Community Health, Mrs Ufuoma Ovwigho in Umuapu, Ohaji/Egbema LGA of Imo.

Ovwigho said the outreach, which is a part of the Assa North – Ohaji South Gas Development Project, targeted five communities including Umuapu, Obiti, Avu, Obosima and Ohuba.

The SPDC’s Assa North Gas Development Project is a major momentum to the domestic gas aspiration of the Federal Government for increased power generation and industrialisation.

Addressing the beneficiaries, Mr Igo Weli, General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, said the project, which started over a decade ago, was intended to support government’s efforts and take quality medical services to host communities.

Weli, who was represented by the company’s Interface Manager, Mr Ayodeji Adeleke, said the SPDC was interested in reducing the burden of healthcare management in rural communities orchestrated by poverty and ignorance.

“The project aims at supporting the aspiration of the federal government’s national gas master plan by profitably developing the reservoirs in the Assa North /Ohaji South fields in Imo.

“It also aims to take integrated quality medical services to the doorsteps of people in communities where we operate ranging from health promotion, prevention and curative health services.

“Since inception of the program in 2008, we have reached 644,608 persons from over 150 communities across the Niger Delta.

“Here in Ohaji/Egbema, we have reached 7,666 persons through two outreaches in the past two years,’’ he said.

In a goodwill message, Mrs Victoria Dike, Secretary, Imo Primary Health Care Development Commission, described the outreach as a “big package”.

“We want the local dwellers to spread the gospel of this programme and take full advantage of it in the next five days,’’ she said.

Also the traditional ruler, Ihie / Umuapu, Nze Emmanuel Onyenze expressed pleasure over the programme while encouraging the SPDC not to relent in giving back to the community.

“We sincerely appreciate the efforts of the SPDC. This exercise shows that we are recognised in the world; we cannot but ask for more,’’ he said.

Some of the beneficiaries, Mrs Anaesthesia Enyinnaya and Mrs Georgina Ndiukwu, both farmers, expressed delight over the outreach.

The services provided included provision of insecticide treated mosquito nets, counselling and health screening, treatment of cardiovascular diseases, breast and cervical cancer, dental screening and eye care and de-worming of children.

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