The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has flagged-off its annual free healthcare delivery for the aged and less-privileged persons in rural communities to commemorate the 2017 Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) Week.

The NYSC Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Suleiman Kazaure, flagged-off the exercise at Atan village in Ijebu North-East Local Government Area of Ogun on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the NYSC HIRD scheme, which was inaugurated in 2015, is targeted at providing free healthcare for rural dwellers in the country..

The NYSC boss said the concept of bringing free healthcare to the grassroots became imperative due to poor access to quality medical facilities in rural communities.

He said the goal of the HIRD programme was to mobilise the corps’ medical volunteers in the provision of healthcare interventions through diagnosis, treatment, referrals and proper prevention mechanisms.

The NYSC boss added that the initiative would help enhance the general well-being of rural dwellers across communities in Nigeria.

Kazaure, who was represented by Mrs Elizabeth Adejumo, Ogun NYSC Acting State Coordinator, gave an assurance that the HIRD would be sustained by the NYSC scheme.

“The HIRD is another community-based programme designed among other things to support the various state governments in the drive toward the provision of healthcare for all.

“As managers of the scheme, we are fully prepared to leverage on the well spread abundant human resource at our disposal to improve the quality of life of our people.

“Our team of experienced medical personnel are sure of giving you standard medical services for your general well being; so feel free to engage them.

“Our confidence in the success of the programme lies in our partners and stakeholders who are either assisting us with personnel or providing support with drugs and medical equipment.

“It is my hope that our efforts in enhancing the quality of life of our people through this programme will endure and be improved upon over the years,” Kazaure said.

Apart from Atan, the NYSC boss said the week-long activity would also be held at Irolu community in Ikenne Local Government Area.

He said the programme was expected to cater for more than 1,000 residents in the designated local government areas.

The Chairman of Ijebu North-East Local Government Area, Mr Kolawole Onafuye, urged the people to take advantage of the programme for their health benefit.

He condemned the use of self-medication and blind treatment with local methods while laying more emphasis on preventive medicine and the need to adopt healthy lifestyle.

“This initiative is for the benefit of everyone, hence our people must take ownership and participate fully for the good health of all,” Onafuye said.

Chief Duro Olugbode, the Chairman of the Council of Baales in the local government area, thanked the NYSC for the HIRD programme, urging the corps not to relent in its efforts in providing qualitative healthcare to rural dwellers.

NAN reports that beneficiaries, numbering over 300, had checks to verify their blood pressure, blood sugar level and eye condition.

There were also health talks on meningitis, Lassa fever and monkey pox.

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