ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU writes that it was testimonies galore and appreciations on last Thursday as beneficiaries of two weeks free medical outreach extolled Hon Chris Azubogu,a federal lawmaker and aspiring governorship candidate in Anambra 2021 election for sponsoring the medical outreach.
Azubogu, who is the member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo federal constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, got the commendation when he delivered his fourth free medical services to his constituency, a project he has repeatedly carried out for the past four years.
The free medical care involved diagnosing and treatment of ailments ranging from Eye Surgeries, Eye-care (reading and medicated glasses), fibroid surgeries, hernia, appendicitis, Lab Examinations, Scans, Counselling, to mention but a few. People with other complicated health problems across the state seized the opportunity to receive the free medical treatment.
The 2020 edition of Azubogu annual medicare was in partnership with different health facilities split across the constituency including Joint Hospital, Ozubulu, Diocesan Hospital Akwudo-Nnewi, Diocesan Hospital,Amichi and General Hospital, Ukpor.
At the various health facilities where the medical outreach held, patients were full of praises as they described the annual outreach as timely intervention to save the poor masses who have little or no money to meet the financial obligations of getting good treatment in hospitals.
“I don’t know what to say about what God used Hon Azubogu to do for me and my family with this free surgery today …”( an Old man from Nimo, Njikoka LGA said after his successful surgery.)
But what was like a miracle was when Mr Kenneth Emordi who had eye surgery yesterday, after suffering from blindness for ten years returned to the Diocesan Hospital Akwudo,Nnewi on1st December to announce that he has regained his sight.
Mr Kenneth Emordi of Umunnamehi, Ihiala in Ihiala LGA stated that it can only be God and prayed for God’s blessings upon Engr.Azubogu.
“I thank Azubogu, may God bless him for what he is doing. May God lift him up. Thousands of people are here and he is not collecting money from people to offer these services. Look at me; I have regained my sight …” Mr Emordi prayed.
The case of Mr Emordi is a replica of an old woman at Ukpor in Nnewi South LGA who brought banana as a gift to the lawmaker. According to the woman, she has been blind for years and would always wish she can at least see her grandchildren and that God used Engr. Chris Azubogu to answer her prayer when she benefited from Azubogu’s Medical Outreach where she regained her sight.
In spite of the mammoth crowd at the four health facilities, patients were seen been attended to. It was a great sight as they sat under canopies and at different corners with their cards dangling in their hands waiting for their turns.
At the Nnewi Diocesan Hospital Akwudo in OtoloNnewi, Patients who have received free eye treatments and surgeries were full of testimonies as most of them could not have afforded the cost of the surgery which according to them runs into millions. They blamed government’s lukewarm attitude to the deteriorating health and wellbeing of people living in rural areas and who cannot afford hospital’s huge bills.
A patient, Stanley, who had cataract surgery said he had no hope of getting medical attention before the free medical care. He said he had no money to embark on such surgery and according to him the cost of medical treatment in the country is high.
At the Diocesan eye clinic were heaps of treated eye glasses ready to be distributed to people with eye defects were, some of the patientsmostly rural dwellers had no money to acquire such medicated materials.
At General Hospital Ukpor,there were large crowd of patients waiting to be tested and diagnosed to ascertain their health status before being directed for treatment or surgery as the case may be were handy.
But Joint Hospital Ozobulu recorded the most pathetic scene as a tour round the wards revealed a number of patients who have already undergone surgeries on fibroid, hernia and appendicitis as well a hundreds of others who were waiting to be attended to.
Speaking to newsmen later, Mrs Bridget, one of patients whose fibroid was removed appreciated the lawmaker whom she said has saved her from death. The 45 year old woman who hailed from Nnewi said she has been living with fibroid for over 14 years but for the intervention of the free medical care from the lawmaker.
Another patient, a 52 years old Mrs IfeomaOkwesilieze from Alor in Idemili South said the lawmaker saved her from paying almost a million naira to remove her fibroid surgery. According to her, “I have a fibroid that has lasted for 5 years in my body. We have been to several hospitals and they charged us nine hundred thousand naira (N900, 0000) but we could not afford it. I heard about the outreach and came on Monday and we were attended to. They carried out surgery on me.”
Addressing newsmen, the team leader for doctors on the move Africa and a consultant gynaecologistDr. Joseph Kigbu said that they were over 90 health professionals currently executing the programme out of which 12 were specialists in various fields of medicine.
Sharing his experience at the free medical outreach, Dr.Kigbu said his team performed surgery on a woman of about 43 years with fibroid seedlings that is of the size of pregnancy. He noted that it took the expertise of the team to remove the fibroid and save the woman. “A woman was carrying fibroid for 15 years and the fibroid grows to almost equivalent of a nine months pregnancy. It becomes technically difficult to help her. God has been gracious; all of these surgeries have been successful.
“What is alarming is that the cases of fibroid are so high in this community amongst the women because most of them tend to pursue their career and don’t get married on time, so the uterus tends to grow these fibroid. We have close to 30 ladies waiting for surgeries of fibroid and their own is big.”
Addressing Newsmen, Hon Chris Azubogu known as Mr Project confirmed he has been providing free medicare for four years noted that the free health care service was not limited to the people of his constituency but to everyone with health issue and desires to be treated.
He said that the free medicare is a platform he initiated so that people can be diagnosed and get drugs administered to them free of charge adding that the program carried out over 1,000 surgeries in its last two free health programmes.
According to the lawmaker, “Annually, we provide free medical care for people within this environment. This is our fourth edition and every year we continue to do and we improved on last year.
“We have treated about five percent of the population and also carried out about 1,000 surgeries meaning we must have attended to about 20,000 patients.”
Stating the difficulty of accessing health facilities in the country, the federal lawmaker said: “people can hardly afford adequate daily meals,let alone helplessly manage sicknesses that force them to early graves. We can’t fold our hands and watch this pathetic situation dominate our society especially at this scary economic time of global recession caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The lawmaker further said that some of the surgeries carried out during the programme cost over a million naira in other capable institutions, adding that people face untold hardship let alone raising millions to stay alive.
The lawmaker who said he involved over 92 medical personnel of specialist doctors, surgeons and other professionals in the modern art of medical delivery, informed further that positive results of the previous editions of his free health program in the constituency spurred him to plan for the fourth edition to clearly go beyond borders of his constituency and touch all corners of the state and beyond.
The lawmaker noted that over 9,000 patients have been attended to within the first three days of the fourth edition which according to him took off last day of November. He noted that almost 300 surgeries of varying degrees have been carried out including 200 eye surgeries and over 100 general surgeries of fibroid, hernia, appendicitis among others.