By Ola Awoniyi, Special Adviser (Media) to President of the Senate
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, at the weekend, flagged off free medical outreach and mass animal vaccination in his Yobe North Senatorial District, Yobe State.
The medical services include free eye services, surgical services, gynecological checking and surgeries for families.
It also covers free veterinary services such as mass animal vaccination for cattle, sheep and goats, and treatment and care for sick animals.
Speaking at the flag off ceremonies which held in four centres including his native home Gashua in Bade and Nguru Local Government Areas, Lawan said similar intervention took place last year August.
He said: “We did not want to repeat it this year because we had hoped that our people would have overcome the challenges but we still have so many more that are facing these challenges.
“So long there are people with these challenges, we will continue to intervene by the Grace of God.”
Lawan said the target for this year was to attend to 400 patients who are seriously in need of the intervention but he was later informed by the leading surgeon that there are almost 800 people who have been already screened and will require the intervention but half of whom were asked to come back next year because the target was 400.
“Now I want to inform this gathering that all those that have been screened and found to be really in need of the surgery should be accommodated.
“So we will be intervening for almost 800 patients this year by the Grace of God. We pray that at the end of the day we have a successful surgery on the patients,” Lawan said.
Lawan was accompanied on the trip from Abuja by Senator Ibrahim Bomai, representing Yobe South.
The flag-off event was also attended by Royal fathers in the domain including Emir of Mai Bade, Abubakar Sulaiman Umar; Emir of Yusufari, Alhaji Muhammad Zannah, and Emir of Nguru, Alhaji Mustapha Ibn Kyari.
The Senate President also visited the in-patients whose treatment had already commenced at various centres to see how they were faring.
Lawan said between November and December, up to one million animals will be vaccinated which is twice that of last year.
He said the intervention is to complement the great work which was started by the former State Governor who is now a Senator, Ibrahim Gaidam and which is still being diligently pursued by his successor, incumbent Governor Mai-Mala Buni.
“Yobe State Government is part of what we are doing. We are together in this and we are together in everything because we belong to one and the same family in Yobe and we will continue to work together to ensure that our people enjoy those essential benefits that are referred to as dividends of democracy,” he said.
Lawan said the ultimate way out to addressing the shortcomings in the health sector is institutional building.
“I believe that we need to do more by institutional building. That is, to build our hospitals. To build the capacity of the personnel in the hospitals so that this kind of treatment don’t have to come from any individual. That our institutions are able to handle it,” Lawan said.
In his welcome address at one of the outreach centres, the Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Nguru, Dr. Abubakar Musa, acknowledged Lawan’s intervention as very commendable.
“This is very commendable considering the fact that most of these patients would not have been able to afford the cost of the surgery and a lot of them might not even be aware that such condition can be treated as it is a common knowledge that there is a lot of superstitious belief attached to it and many are ashamed to let people know of their conditions,” Dr. Musa said.