Port Harcourt — Not less than 3000 patients have been projected to benefit from the ongoing free healthcare programme, organised by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, in Opolo community, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The free health outreach include medical consultation from a medical team comprising general physicians, ophthalmologists, dentists as well as drug dispensation to the patients by pharmacists.
The medical team also have a health awareness session, distribution of treated glasses, mosquito nets as well as breast and cervical cancer screening sessions, including cryotherapy treatments, and checking of blood pressure, blood sugar levels and other risk factors for heart diseases.
Speaking, SPDC General Manager, External Relations, Mr Igo Weli, said the oil firm had reached over 640,000 people across 50 communities in the Niger Delta region since the free health scheme kicked off in 2010.
Weli, regretted that access to quality healthcare was being limited by cost, hence the decision of the Dutch oil firm to intervene in the Health in Motion programme.
He said Opolo community which hosts SPDC’s oil wells and facilities had supported the operations of the oil firm, hence the return gesture to residents of the area.
“The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria and its Joint Venture partners – the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Shell, Total E&P and Agip, consider this three-day free medical outreach, the Opolo Community Care Programme in Bayelsa State, as a key element in our engagement with the good people of Opolo Community.
“Over 10 years ago, we introduced the Community Care Programme in the Niger Delta and have since reached thousands of people across Nigeria with this free medical health component tagged ‘Health-in-Motion’. Since 2010, over 640,000 persons in over 50 communities have benefited from this SPDC’s Health-in Motion medical care Programme.
“Very often, we tie the Community Care health programme to our projects. For example, Opolo Community is host to SPDC JV’s Gbaran Well 14 and Well 8 locations. The people’s support has enabled SPDC to commence work-over activities that will restore facility integrity and production. This support help in guaranteeing additional developed resource volumes in Bayelsa State.
“As you know, SPDC support and social investment benefits to our communities and people can only continue to thrive and improve as our core business thrives in an enabling environment.”
Represented by SPDC Community Interface Coordinator, Central Health Hub, Mr Olayiwola Wakeel, Weli announced that the oil firm engaged in the medical scheme in collaboration with the Bayelsa State Ministry of Health.
He encouraged the people of Opolo, to take advantage of the opportunity and present themselves for screening and treatment at the various service points within this premise.
“Ladies and gentlemen, what distinguishes the SPDC JV Health-in-Motion programme and makes it so popular is the onsite presence of doctors who are supported by a wide range of interventions, preventive and curative health services brought directly to recipients.
“SPDC is passionate about health and safety. In fact, we are as popular for our Health and Safety culture as we are popular for our oil and gas business. We remain committed to extending this culture to people of communities where we operate.
“We uphold the maxim, ‘We Care’ in our business. We believe healthy citizens lead to a productive population which strengthens the economy and wealth of a nation.
“Regrettably, access to good quality healthcare is often hindered by limited awareness, limited resources and avoidable delays. So, it is not uncommon to see people turn to unproven alternative treatments or wait for their conditions to degenerate into serious medical conditions, like blindness or cancer, before seeking health care services.
“It is important to note that, whenever this happens, the consequences affect not only the direct family, but the entire community and overall national economy.”
Beneficiaries of the free medicals, who spoke to newsmen commended SPDC for the gesture and appealed to the oil multinational to ensure that the free healthcare campaign is carried out regularly in the area and other parts of the state.
A community leader in Opolo, Boniface Odede who has benefitted from the free healthcare said the large crowd at the health facility, was an indication that most people in the area could not afford medical services.
Another beneficiary, Tonbra Ebidonbraye, said she and her children have been treated for malaria and also given treated mosquito nets, while applauding SPDC for the free medical programme.