West African College of Surgeons (WACS) on Monday commenced its pilot charity surgical outreach to the residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Dr Herve Yangni-Angate, President of WACS in Abuja, said that the outreach was meant to feature 50 patients with major and minor health challenges.
He explained that the outreach was not for the rich, but for indigent patients who could not afford medical services.
“We are organising free surgical operations for the less privileged, we are granting them access to free surgeries.
“We will be offering medical treatment for Ovarian Neoplastic Granuloma (ONG), gynaecological related health issues and other surgeries,” he said.
Yangni-Angate also stated that the college was partnering with some stakeholders in the health sector to render these services.
He, however, noted that the outreach in collaboration with the stakeholders and hospitals was a medium to train the staff of such hospitals.
He pointed out that outreach would feature physicians ranging from gynaecologists, optometrists, experts who would handle goitre, umbilical hernia and other issues.
“WACS is partnering with hospitals like the Garki General Hospital and Rachael Eye Clinic for these services, and they are providing the facilities for the outreach.
“Through the outreach taking place in these hospitals, we can also train their staff and this will go a long way to improve the quality of treatment in the hospitals.
“All the surgeons participating in this exercise are experts and consultants who are well known within and beyond the country,” said the president.
Mrs Fatima Mairama, the FCT Chairperson, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), advised the organisers to be careful because the pioneer edition would evaluate the response for the next one.
“In our next edition, we will reach out to rural communities and probably select people and media for more awareness.
“This time we want to have it right but subsequently we can expand our horizon and make arrangement to take care of more patients,” Mairama said.
She solicited for more sponsors to support the outreach in the next edition, adding that it was cumbersome for the few hospitals to provide all the facilities required to attend to the patients that might turn out.
Dr Bisalla Ekele, the Coordinator of the outreach, said that patients were already recruited for the exercise by outside clinics.
Mr Victor Aruchukwu, a relative to one of the beneficiaries of the programme, lauded the effort of WACS, adding that it had boosted his confidence in the country.
“The person treated is my wife, she has just undergone fibroid operation and we did not pay a dime for the operation.
“I am really grateful for this free medical treatment and I wish that other people who cannot afford their medical care hears about this and be encouraged,” Aruchukwu said.
Mr Isaiah Odoh, another relative of the beneficiary who had fibroid surgery, said he had made so much effort to raise the funds for the treatment of his wife but to no avail.
“We are not paying any kobo, it is 100 per cent free and I am happy because we have been to the private hospitals where we were charged a lot of money.
“I have tried saving the funds but still it is not what we were requested to pay in the private hospital,” Odoh said.
He urged WACS to create more awareness to sensitise people on their charity services, adding that it would cheer the less privileged seeking for medical care.