NDDC Extends Free Healthcare to Cross River Communities


The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has taken the first phase of its Free Healthcare Programme, which it relaunched on June 16, 2024 to the General Hospital, Akamkpa in Cross River State for the benefit of people in the rural communities.

Speaking at the flag off of the week-long free medical outreach, the Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, hailed the programme, noting that it was essential to make healthcare available to people at the grassroots.

He emphasized the importance of providing healthcare for the people in their localities and remarked that the free healthcare programme was part of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, stating: “The first and best gift to anybody is a sound health, able body and a sound mind”.
To support the free medical mission, Senator Ekpenyong said that he would provide free buses for people coming from Odukpani, Akamkpa, and Biase Local Government Areas and also give refreshment to the patients.

In his address, the NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku observed that the Medical Mission, which had already taken place in eight states of the region, had benefited over two million Niger Deltans.

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Ogbuku, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Education, Health and Social Services, EHSS, Dr Eme Inyangabia, said the free healthcare programme was a flagship of the Commission, targeted at changing the health situation and narrative of the people in the region.
He stated: “It is in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, number three, which aspires to achieve universal health coverage and ensure health and well-being for all.”

Giving more insight on the programme, the NDDC Director, Education, Health and Social Services, Dr George Uzonwanne, said that cases ranging from malaria to fibroid surgeries would be attended to
He noted: “Those who will go through surgeries will be monitored until they are ready to be discharged from the facility as we have a team on ground to handle that, and cases that we are unable to handle will be referred to tertiary facilities for treatment.”

“We are looking to treat 3,000 to 3,500 patients but not really the number of patients but the number of data points because one patient may have more than three interventions. So we are looking at between 12,000 to 15,000 data points.

In his remarks, the member representing Akamkpa 1 State Constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Hon. Okon Owuna thanked the NDDC for bringing “a life-saving mission” to the state and promised to help mobilise his people to make good use of the opportunity.

The paramount ruler of Akamkpa, Ewot Ebani, thanked the NDDC for bringing the programme to the grassroots level. He expressed concern about the poor state of the General Hospital and appealed to the federal and state governments to improve the hospital’s facilities.

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