Free medical care: Pharmacy students give back to community
Two capsules of 200mg Albendazol, an antidote against worms, was handed to Dameshi Barau Luka, deputy governor of Nasarawa State, last weekend, in demonstration of the flag off of a day-long free medical care to villagers of Ningo, a sleepy community in Akwanga Local Government Area.
A glass of water accompanied the drugs. When he gulped down the pills, wailing and echoes from jubilant women of the community rocked LEA Primary School, Nigo, the venue of the free medical treatment which benefited hundreds of peasants and their children.
Miss Echuku Tessy Ombugadu, a final year student of Pharmacy from University of Jos, Plateau State, was there to explain. She said the gesture was part of the annual programme for students that are indigenes of Nasarawa State studying Pharmacy in Jos, under the umbrella of Nasarawa State Association of Pharmacy Students (NASAPS), a body she heads as National President.
Chief Madaki Anthony, the Hakimi (village head of) Nigo, was also on hand to lead his people to benefit from the gesture of these students.
The primary school premise was completely taken up for the programme which has spanned years in Jos, but Nasarawa was benefiting for the first time.
Classes served as temporary units for services which include registration and vital signs, screening and Testing (Laboratory services), Diagnoses and Consultation, as well as Pharmacy.
Other services offered include de-worming exercise, screening and counseling on HIV and Hepatitis, and general diagnoses and treatment.
Drugs that were dispensed during the outreach include analgesics, antibiotics, vitamins and supplements, anti-malarial and paediatric syrups among others
There was a referral form which enabled the Pharmacy students to refer beneficiaries with ailments above the means and capacity of the programme to specialists hospitals where they can obtain such attentions.
The medical team was made up of trained doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists as well as members of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called Beacon Youth Movement whose objective was to partake in picking up the bills.
The activities of the day started with the registration of the deputy governor, and the village head, all of whose vital signs were taken, and recorded.
Mr. Luka, the deputy governor, proceeded to submit himself for laboratory screening, and then to the consultation room, where a team of doctors attended to him, and gave him a prescription.
He was sent to the pharmacy unit, where he was handed the two capsules of 200mg Albendazol.
When he took the medication, it signalled the official commencement of the Pharmacy students-sponsored free medical treatment to the humble peasants of that community along Akwanga-Jos Road.
Two children: Lami Simon and Rejoice Titus sat before a team of doctors with problems of stomach ache. Lami Tella, an elderly woman, was also being attended to by another doctor, to whom she complained of chronic waist pain.
Godiya Shugba, a child, was led to see the doctors; by her mother who explained that the child had had weeks of fever without orthodox medication.
“I have been giving him herbs. An uncle assisted us with herbs but he is not responding to the native treatment”, the mother lamented.
By the gesture of these students on this fateful day, Godiya’s mother had an option to receive care initiated by these young students – the members of NASAPS, who had tasked themselves and saved their lean resources from their pocket money to provide medication to members of this humble community.
This is where the deputy governor hails from.
Five sub units were laid up at the laboratory/screening unit. One of them was manned by Akatiki Bala, a young female undergoing medical studies at University of Jos.
She explained that her desk took care of HIV and Hepatitis screening.
There were a handful of policemen clustered around the desk, who heard of the announcement by NASAPS, and came there to access treatment.
Sometime later, one of the policemen grinned, as he walked towards this reporter. “My result is out”, he said. “I am negative. I am happy. May God bless this students.”
Susan Samuel Audu, head of the laboratory unit, told this reporter that, since morning over a hundred persons were sent for screening on various cases including malaria, Hepatitis, HIV and so on.
Ichuku Ombugadu, leader of NASAPS observed that the programmme was already a success because of the impressive turn out of the members of the community.
She said the success of the programme depended on “The Team” which is made up of the doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, the NGO as well as NASAPS itself, adding, “we cannot do anything on our own; we need the contribution of all to succeed.”
Ichuku Ombugadu said the programme was in fulfilment of the motto of the association which is “Building a Healthy Society”, and added that there was no better way to do that than to address the health needs of the less privileged in the society.
She noted that this was one of the basic reasons why the association had taken it upon itself to reach out to the poor and less privileged.
She also pointed out that in view of the assurance given to NASAPS; it has also decided that henceforth it would hold the programme in the state annually.
The deputy governor encouraged the students to make the event an annual programme so as to alleviate the health challenges faced by the people of the area with a promise that he would ensure that the state government supports its programme which was in tandem with the administration of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura.
He said it was his desire as well as that of the government to ensure the well being of the people which led to his supporting the programme by providing financial support to the students for the purchase of drugs as well as other logistics that would enable them take their services to the grass roots.
He gave the indication that he was also probably looking at partnering with the students to expand the programme to cover the entire state.
The deputy governor appreciated the sacrifice made by the students to take the outreach to the less privileged, he stressed that the gesture would not go unrewarded because they were impacting in the lives of people.
U spoke well Gen
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