The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has began a three-day free medical treatment and distribution of food items to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and other residents in Isa Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
Launching the programme on Tuesday in Isa local government headquarters, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal described the medical outreach as a commendable gesture by NAF.
Tambuwal, represented by Director, Primary Health Care, Dr Sha’aibu Gobir, commended the efforts, saying the exercise was timely in recognition of COVID-19 pandemic and banditry activities.
He urged NAF to extend such gestures to other areas such as education in view of the availability of diverse expertise in the service.
He said that the 2020 activity that targeted IDPs and others in hard-to-reach communities in the state was a demonstration of concern over victims of security challenges.
The governor added that the food items, treatments and other consumables provided by NAF would cushion the hardship faced by people
He lauded the existing cordial relations between the community, NAF officials and other security agencies and urged them to redouble efforts at safeguarding peoples’ lives and protecting Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
In his address, the Director, Medical Services in NAF Headquarters, Group Cpt. Ali Tanko, said that the exercise was part of efforts of Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, aimed at enhancing community relations through the provision of humanitarian services.
Tanko said that similar outreaches had been conducted by NAF in the past, noting that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory scientists and other ancillary health workers, would provide services to beneficiaries free of charge in the exercise.
He added that drugs, eye glasses and other consumables would also be distributed to beneficiaries for free.
According to him, free tests will also be conducted along with screening for eye ailments, hepatitis, malaria, diabetes and others.
”The event signifies NAF’s commitment to improving our civil-military relationships. It is usually said that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation,” Tanko said.
Speaking also, the Commander, 119 Composite Group of Nigerian Air Force, Sokoto, Group Cpt. Garba Bello, said that the exercise would in no small way contribute to the health of the residents in the communities.
Bello said that the exercise coincided with military operations against banditry and other criminalities which were geared toward safeguarding people’s lives and property along with protection of territorial boundaries.
He added that the exercise comprised of health screening including sugar and hepatitis tests to be done along with the general medical examinations.
“Also, there will be distribution of mosquito nets as well as free eyeglasses and dental checks,’’ he said.
The commander told the villagers that the health professionals at the event were ready to assist them with their health concerns.
According to him, those requiring further treatment such as surgeries will be referred to nearby hospitals.
Earlier, the District Head of Isa, Alhaji Malami Ahmad, thanked the NAF for conducting the outreach in his community, noting that it would surely enhance people’s well-being.
Ahmad who was represented by the Bunun Isa, Alhaji Nuruddeen Malami, advised members of the community to take advantage of the outreach to access treatment.
He stressed the need for the people to continue to live in harmony with security officials.
The Sole Administrator of Isa Local Government Area, Alhaji Nasiru Muhammad, described the gesture as timely concern demonstrated by NAF and Sokoto state government in consideration of the plights of people affected by banditry activities as well as less privileged persons.
Some of the beneficiaries, Malama Maryama Yusuf, Suleiman Surajo and Shu’aibu Liti, who spoke with NAN expressed happiness over the gesture.