- As Igwe Chidime commends pharmacists for bringing health outreach to his community
For the people of Omor Community in Ayamelum Local Government area in Anambra State, Wednesday 1 May 2019, will continue to be remembered as a memorable day. This was because that was the day the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) took healthcare outreach to them as part of activities to mark its 22nd Annual National Conference.
The event tagged ‘Health Outreach in Omor Community’ organised by NAIP and held at Amikiwe Primary School, Omor, commenced around 11 am and was attended by many residents of the community, led by the respected traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Oranu Chris Chidime, Eze Ana-Ukwu Igulube of Omor.
The NAIP team comprising pharmacists, doctors and nurses attended to residents who came out in their numbers to take advantage of the opportunity to be screened by the healthcare team, get treated and be given free medications. The people of the town were screened for various lifestyle diseases and other conditions, after which they were counselled and also given free drugs prescribed by physicians at the programme. Those with more serious conditions were counselled and referred to appropriate health institutions for further actions.
Aside health screening and treatment, the NAIP team also gave health talks and educated the populace on what to do to prevent diseases and better manage their health. A major component of the health outreach programme was a deworming exercise for children of the community.
Speaking exclusively with Pharmanews during the event, Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu, national chairman, NAIP, said that when NAIP was planning the event, it reached out to its members in Anambra State to enquire which community was suitable for the programme, noting that the overwhelming response received was that Omor community was quite suitable.
“They told us that Omor has about ten thousand rice farmers and that the community has no Primary Health Care Centre not to talk of a General Hospital. We were told that there were also no pharmacies in the community. They told us that it will be a good idea if we can come and provide health services to the people in the community.
“When we however started making arrangement and reached out to the distinguished Royal Father, Igwe Chidume, we found out that he is quite a great partner to work with. He was very supportive of the idea and encouraged us to come. He demonstrated this by personally leading the health team from his palace to the health outreach venue this morning,” Anukwu said.
The NAIP boss stated further that the event was part of NAIP’s corporate social responsibility initiatives to give back to the society, noting that the medication given out are from the right source as they came directly from NAIP members from all over the country.
Speaking in the same vein, Pharm. Emeka Adimoha, national treasurer, NAIP, said that the choice of Omor for the health outreach was influenced by the good relationship that existed between the community and Pharmacy, noting that the warm response from the traditional ruler, who is a friend of Pharmacy was significant in the decision to come to Omor.
He stated further that the large turnout of people in the community has further confirmed that there is still a huge gap in access to care and quality medicines to people in the rural communities, noting that government, individuals and professional bodies must do more to bridge this gap.
Also speaking with Pharmanews at the event, Pharm. Okaa Chibuzor, senior special adviser to Anambra State Governor on Pharmaceutical affairs noted that Omor community is dear to pharmacists because the Royal Highness Igwe Chidume is a friend of Pharmacy. He added that the Igwe honoured the immediate past president of PSN, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai with a chieftaincy tittle to demonstrate his love for pharmacy.
He said that it is good that pharmacists also decided to reciprocate the love of the Igwe by coming to provide health services to the people in the community because the community is lacking in health services, adding that the event has been a huge success.
The Royal Highness, Igwe Chidume, during an exclusive chat with Pharmanews, said he was quite happy to welcome the NAIP team, noting that Omor is about the largest community in Anambra State, both in population and landmass.
Omor, the Igwe said is predominantly a rural area where there are no medical services or access to quality medicines, adding that he is happy that people in the community will benefit from the NAIP’s initiative.
He enjoined other professional bodies in Nigeria to take a cue from what NAIP is doing and reach out to assist people in the community as a way of giving back to the society.