The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim has announced that over two million Nigerians have benefitted from the Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) programme established by the Scheme.
According to the Director-General, the programme which was established in 2014 is meant to take free and quality medical facilities to the doorsteps of the indigent populace in the rural areas.
“Driven by our determination to deepen the impact of our healthcare services, management launched the HIRD in 2014. It is a platform for a contribution towards promoting the well-being of indigent persons at the grassroots by granting them easier access to free and quality healthcare”.
The Director-General who was represented at the second quarter flag-off of the ceremony held at Isuada Community in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State by the State Coordinator, Mrs. Victoria Nnenna Ani said that NYSC has since its inception, recorded numerous landmark achievements in the area of national unity and integration as well as other spheres such as healthcare delivery, rural Infrastructures, mass literacy, education, sports, and other social services.
“Virtually, all our contribution in these areas are made through the activities of successive batches of corps members, whose patriotic zeal, dedication and selflessness have been the source of pride to all Nigerians”.
In the words of the NYSC boss, 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 in which drugs, eyeglasses, and other medical consumables are given free of any costs to beneficiaries.
He added that medical outreaches also feature sensitisation of community members on disease prevention and care as well as a donation of over 300 wheelchairs to people with special needs with the support of partners.
Ibrahim said that 2021 centrally coordinated medical outreach with the theme ‘Health is Wealth for Advancement’ is taking place simultaneously in all the states of the federation, and will last for one week will subsequently conduct quarterly follow-up outreaches with a view to increasing access for the benefiting communities.
The NYSC boss, therefore, encouraged Nigerians who reside in the localities where the outreaches are taking place to avail themselves of the free and quality medical services.
The number one corps member nationwide expressed the appreciation of the management for the support and encouragement received from stakeholders such as Federal and State Ministries of Health, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), the Society for Family Health International, other International and Non Governmental Organisations, Pharmaceutical Companies and public-spirited individuals.
The NYSC helmsman said that given the desire of the Scheme to expand the scope of the HIRD and make it more impactful, ‘I wish to appeal for the support of the corporate bodies and well-to-do individuals towards actualising our plans of setting up Mobile Clinic for wider outreach’.
The representative of the Chairman, NYSC Ondo State Governing Board, Mrs. Catherine Okupe said that the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development will continue to create enabling environment for the Scheme to actualise the objectives of NYSC in the Sunshine State.
Mrs. Okupe, who is the Director of Youth in the Ministry tasked the NYSC management to involve more stakeholders in the HIRD programme.
The Executive Chairman, Owo Local Government, Honourable Samuel Adegbegi while appreciating the NYSC for bringing the programme said that the Council will partner with NYSC to bring more outreaches to the area.
The Executive Chairman who was represented by the Secretary to the Local Government, Prince Taiwo Babatunde Adako promised to liaise with relevant stakeholders within the Council area for collaboration to make the programme a huge success.
The royal father of the Isuada Community, HRH Oba Joel Olufemi Adeluwoye, the Asuada of Isuada praised the ingenuity and untiring efforts of the Scheme since it was established 48 years ago.
He reminded Nigerians that NYSC is contributing in no small measures to the economic development of the nation and it is still at the forefront of providing quality medical services to the indigent people in the rural areas.
The programme which commenced today will run for a week.