BY KAYODE ANIMASAUN 

The National Youth Service Corps, NYSC says the medical teams of the Scheme  have treated over two million Nigerians suffering from different ailments and diseases through its Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers HIRD programme across the country.

The Director General of NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim stated this while flagging off of this year’s health week medical outreach at Isuada,Owo local government of ondo state.

Represented by the NYSC coordinator in Ondo State, Mrs. Victoria Ani, Brigadier General Ibrahim said the scheme had also donated over 300 wheelchairs to  people living with disabilities as well as embarking on sensitization of the public on disease prevention and care in communities.

He said the gesture was aimed at contributing to the wellbeing of indigent persons at the grassroots by granting them easier access to free and quality healthcare.

The NYSC boss urged Nigerians resident in the localities, where the outreaches are taking place to avail themselves of the free medical services.

He said “Driven by our determination to deepen the impact of our healthcare services, Management launched the NYSC-HIRD in 2014.

The programme is largely implemented through medical outreaches in communities across the country, during which Corps Medical Volunteers carry out diagnosis; treatment, including minor medical procedures; and referrals of patients. Drugs, eye glasses and other medical consumables are also given to patients free of charge.

I am pleased to report that, so far, over two million persons have been attended to by the NYSC Medical Teams on the HIRD Platform. In addition to the treatment of patients, the medical outreaches also feature sensitization of community members on disease prevention and care. Furthermore, the Scheme has donated over 300 wheelchairs with the support of partners through this programme. Other approaches to the implementation of the HIRD include:

Establishment of Community-Based Clinics;Setting up of Clinics for the NYSC Secretariats; First Aid administration; and Humanitarian aid.

A cross section of beneficiaries

The 2021 centrally coordinated medical outreach with the theme, “Health is Wealth for Advancement,” is taking place simultaneously in all States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, and will last one week. However, each NYSC State Secretariat mobilizes the Corps Medical Teams to conduct follow-up outreaches on quarterly basis with a view to increasing access for the benefitting communities.

I hasten to remind Nigerians that, apart from the HIRD, Corps members have for decades been using other NYSC Community Development Service platforms to make more frequent health-related interventions, including medical outreaches, health surveys, construction of cottage clinics and renovation of other health facilities. Others include campaign against HIV/AIDS, Malaria Control, Guinea Worm Eradication, the immunization against Measles, Poliomyelitis and other         child-killer diseases as well as the prevention of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Our recent contributions to the control of the COVID-19 pandemic have also attracted widespread commendations.

While the nation was on lockdown, we harnessed the talents of Corps members for various interventions, including mass production and donation of face masks, antiseptic liquid soaps and hand sanitizers through the FCT Administration and State Governments all over the Federation.

They equally fabricated and donated automatic and foot-operated water, liquid soap and hand sanitizer dispensers and disinfection chambers in several States. Their interventions also included donation of food and other palliative items to indigent persons, sensitization of the public on prevention and control measures, decontamination of public premises and the conduct of free virtual teaching lessons nationwide for students in exit classes of JSS3 and SS3.

I am proud to report that, on the whole, the health interventions of the Scheme through the HIRD and other platforms have made enormous impacts such as contribution to the improvement of reproductive health, reduction of maternal and infant mortality as well as maintenance and improvement of health infrastructure. ”

In a remark, tha Asuada of Isuada, Oba Olufemi Adeluwoye who commended the NYSC for the gesture urged the Federal Government not to scrap the Scheme as been proposed in some quarters.

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