The first phase of Prof Gregory Ibe Medical and Surgical Outreach for 2022 has been flagged off at the Michael Okpara Square Event Centre, Umuahia by Obinna Ichita, the governorship running mate of Gregory Ibe, the Abia governorship candidate on the platform of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
Speaking during the occasion, Ichita noted that there was a difference between politics and health, adding that without people being healthy, they cannot play politics.
Ichita, who was represented by Obinna Ichita pointed out that Abia State University Teaching Hospital had been stripped of her accreditation while doctors in the state are still on strike for many months’ arrears of salaries owed them by the state government, hence, his decision to treat Abia people free of charge through his Foundation.
He said that Ibe decided to embark on the outreach in order to lessen the healthcare problems of Abians.
He deplored a situation whereby people would work in Abia State MDAs and at the end of the month their salaries would not be forthcoming to enable them take care of themselves.
Also speaking during the event, Augustine Ehiemere, chairman of Abia State chapter of APGA, said he was delighted by the humanitarian gesture of Ibe which he said started way back in 1991 with the Greg Medical Foundation.
He also said that the Healthcare sector was in a shambles and public health centres were in comatose.
“It is shameful that ABSUTH has lost accreditation for Medical students while clinical practice is at the verge of collapse. It is shameful that only the mortuary section of ABSUTH is functional. This is why Abians should appreciate Greg for the free medical care which is free for all Abians irrespective of your political affiliation,” Ehiemere said.
Ojum Ogwo, a medical doctor and leader of the medical team, said the team comprised specialist doctors and nurses who would be visiting all the 17 LGAs for the outreach.
Iyke Foundation is the philanthropic organisation which was established by Prof Ibe in 1991 as a platform for execution of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the 2022 edition of the annual programme is designed in three phases covering Zonal, Local Government Councils and Ward levels.
According to a statement by the outreach, “The programme is designed to diagnose and treat over 20,000 patients, covering optical cases, physiotherapy related issues, acute and chronic diseases. Arrangements have also been perfected with some partnering medical centres to handle surgical operations for needing patients, while all treatment procedures, inclusive of the surgeries will be delivered to the patients at no cost as the entire exercise is free of charge.”
A comprehensive calendar rolled out by the organisers disclosed that sequel to the flag off, the six-day free medical exercise will tarry in Umuahia for three days before moving to the Umunneato axis of Abia Central zone, commencing at Isiala Ngwa North before terminating at Isiala Ngwa South on Sunday, 7th August.
The team of over 50 healthcare personnel comprising Medical Doctors, Ophthalmologists, Physiotherapists, Pharmacists, Nurses and Midwives have already been secured for effective and efficient execution of the exercise. The release therefore concludes by requesting all sick persons within Abia Central Senatorial zone to prepare to participate in the programme, stressing that other senatorial zones will take their turns subsequently.
It will be recalled that Prof Ibe, who holds a post graduate degree in Health Management, recently settled the hospital bills of many indigent patients in the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, who hitherto were detained in the facility due to inability to clear their bills, thereby affording them the opportunity of returning home to their families.