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“Corps members’ mission to save lives”
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“Corps members’ mission to save lives”

Oluwafemi Ogunjobi new picMarket women, artisans, and members of Buruku Community in Benue state, Nigeria, participated in a free medical programme. Oluwafemi Ogunjobi, 23, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Nigeria, participated in and reports on the event organised by the National Youths Service Corps

Buruku is a riverine community, with prevalence of malaria, HIV and other concomitant infections. It has an area of 1,246 km-square and a population of 203,721 as at the 2006 census.

According to a 247 U-Report, over 600,000 persons are currently living with the dreaded HIV/AIDS, which has led to the premature death of both infants and adults in the state. The figure has left the state on the top of the chart of available statistics of the endemic states in the country.

On a recent weekend, for more than five hours the ever-bustling Buruku Market Square of Benue state was brought to a halt for a free health mission organised by 2015 Batch “C” Members of the National Youths Service Corp. Traders and artisans left everything to attend to health issues. As if on cue, when the medical team of Corps members arrived at the Youths Centre, many market women and petty traders rushed out to be treated.

It was organized by members of the Millennium Development Goals Group of the National Youth Service Corps – a youths’ scheme set up by the Nigerian government to involve the country’s graduates in the development of their fatherland – in collaboration with National Emergency Management and Buruku General Hospital, to prevent death from malaria and HIV/AIDS. The programme was tagged ‘’Here-To-Heal’’ Medical Clinic.

Benue state is one of Nigeria’s poorest states, and also the nation’s food basket, with the major occupation being farming. In most cases, students abandon school work for farming activities. Buruku is one of the communities that supply the state with food items. While at work on the farm, young people are exposed to all sorts of injuries and infections, which most times lead to eventual death from poor treatment and medication.

As president of the Corps members, I was able to explain that the medical outreach was born out of the need to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases in the riverine community.

‘’Buruku is a riverine community, with high risk of malaria, HIV and other concomitant infections. What we have done as youngsters is to identify with these people, and connect them to the right source of treatment, as the medical outreach will focus on general body checkups, diagnosis, administration of drugs for proper medication and health counselling,’’ the community was told.

The medical team for the event was led by Dr. Gabriel Owoicho, a specialist at General Hospital, Buruku. Owoicho commended the corps members while urging them to do more.

“This medical mission is the first of its kind in this community, and a laudable social enterprise intended to meet critical health needs; we shall continue to provide needed support to expand its reach to more people in the state,” he said.

The participants at the event were diagnosed regarding malaria and HIV, and given free consultations, drugs, and mosquito nets. Medical supplies were supplied by health facilities in Oyo, Benue states, and non-governmental health organizations.

One of the beneficiaries, Joo Terlumun, explained that “one of my children has been suffering from malaria for some months now, but our family is short of funds to purchase the required drugs. I am glad that Corps members in this community could come up with this initiative that has brought good healthcare closer to us.”

Another beneficiary, Mr. Terkimbi, said, ‘’there are many people like me who have high blood pressure but who don’t know about it. I was counseled on what to do to be healthy. I thank the Corps members for organizing this kind of programme in the community.’’

It was evident that the large crowd at the event underscores the massive need for such kind of service, which should be adopted in a caring and responsible society.

Photo: courtesy of Oluwafemi Ogunjobi

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About me: I am a purpose-driven Nigerian, student, freelance writer, and youth development advocate. I am continuously involved in productive activities that affect human lives, purpose and dignity.

I am passionate about writing. I seek to bring global headliners together through it, and equally to demonstrate how passionate commitment to excellent reporting and storytelling makes a difference in the lives of people everywhere.  I also love travelling and playing soccer.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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