By Ajogwu Jerry

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on Tuesday commenced a 3-day medical and surgical outreach for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Rann IDP Camp in Borno State.

In a statement issued by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, he said the free medical outreach which is expected to last for three days became necessary to avoid cases of inadequate medical attention due to the recent withdrawal of humanitarian services by Non-Governmental Organisations from Rann.

Some of the beneficiaries of the eyes surgery

According to the statement, the withdrawal was of NGOs was triggered by the recent attack by remnants of Boko Haram Terrorists in the area.

The outreach, which is at the instance of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, would provide free primary healthcare and curative services, medicated glasses, mass deworming as well as general and eye surgeries to internally displaced persons.

AVM Adesanya said treated mosquito nets would also be distributed to the IDPs.

Patients on queue waiting patiently for their turn

The outreach is projected to cater for over 3,350 IDPs while those between the ages of 40 and 65 would benefit from surgeries.

The statement reads in part:
“On the first day of the Medical Outreach, patients with major complications that required surgeries were airlifted by the NAF Agusta 109 LUH Helicopter to the NAF’s 105 Composite Group in Maiduguri.

“So far, 9 IDPs had benefitted from general surgeries while 8 others also benefitted from eye surgeries, all at no cost to the beneficiaries.

“The NAF’s soft power approach in fighting insurgency, in addition to its military campaign, has so far impacted greatly on the IDPs and has given them a sense of belonging,” he said.

Speaking during the special outreach programme, the Chief of Medical Services, Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal Saleh Shinkafi, noted that medical and surgical interventions were part of NAF’s humanitarian gesture to the IDPs towards ameliorating their health challenges and giving them the opportunity to live normal and productive lives again.

Some of the beneficiaries expressed their profound appreciation to the Chief of Air Staff for the show of love and urged other organisations and well-spirited individuals to emulate the Nigerian Air Force.

It would be recalled that the NAF has been in the forefront of humanitarian services in the Northeast for the past 3 years. The Nigerian Air Force had organised medical outreach programmes in the Northeast and indeed in all the entire geopolitical regions of the country.

It has equally established emergency hospitals in IDP camps, provided surgical interventions to tackle surgery related cases, and the provision of meals to primary school pupils in Dalori and Bama IDP camps respectively.