A”Ibom medical outreach records 5,000 free surgeries

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By Emeka Samuel,Uyo

Over 5,000 persons in Akwa Ibom have benefited from free surgeries at a medical outreach sponsored by the state government to alleviate the impact of removal of fuel subsidy in the country.

Governor Umo Eno who made this known during his Easter broadcast to the people of the state on Sunday in Uyo said the outreach already undertaken at Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Oron cities would also be extended to Eket town to ensure that more residents benefit.

Eno commended Hensek Integrated Services for partnering with the state government as part of its corporate social responsibility on the outreach and called on other corporate organizations to either partner with government or conduct similar exercises to reduce the cost of medical services on the people.

The Governor said his administration has continued to give attention to social issues or providing palliatives to the most vulnerable and have released close to N15 billion for the payment of gratuities to retirees in the state and local government system.

“Last week, we successfully launched our Arise food security programme, where vouchers were given to the vulnerable people to go and get free staple food items: Garri, rice and beans at designated redemption centres in designated markets across the 31 Local Government Areas.

“We had earlier flagged-off the programme at the state level on Tuesday 26th March, 2024. The remaining Local Government areas will follow suit on Tuesday 2nd April, 2024. This programme is currently ongoing. At the event, I also announced 1.5 billion Naira interest- free loans (500 million Naira each to the three senatorial districts) to our traders.

“I was touched by the pain our market women and other traders go through to borrow money at high and unserviceable interest rates. This scheme, to be managed by Ibom Fadama and Micro finance Bank, is yet another intervention by us, because we care about our traders.” He explained.

He said 600 elderly indigenes have so far benefitted from the Arise Initiative for the Elderly with a N50,000 monthly stipend while the construction of the Arise Compassionate Homes for the most vulnerable has started in several Local Councils of the state.

“My heart broke, when pictures of shanties and dilapidated structures that passed for the homes of some of our most vulnerable were shown to me. I thereafter, took the immediate action to help some of the neediest spread across all the wards in the state, build decent homes for them. By the end of our first term, in 2027, we hope to build homes for the poorest in each of the wards in the state.”

Eno likened the present economic hardship in the country to the suffering of Jesus Christ before he was crucified but assured of a better future for the state.