By Ikwen Atuaka
Activities of an amorphous group of medical doctors that are currently carrying out a medical outreach program including minor and major surgeries in Udigie community, Obudu local government area of Cross River State is causing great concern among some of the residents who have raised alarm.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that the group has been operating in the community for over a month now.
Our reporter who went to see things first hand reports that the medical outreach is being offered by a group whose only means of identification is an inscription on a bus (ANIFRANK RURALHEALTH FOUNDATION (NGO), REG. No: CAC/IT/NO 45791, GIVING HOPE TO THE HOPELESS) located along Ranch road, a kilometer from the Obudu central motor park.
When our reporter visited the location where the vehicle is usually parked on daily basis for potential patients to purchase their medical cards, it was discovered that the treatment center is about 2 to 3 compounds away from the bus.
Furthermore, CrossRiverWatch observed that the usually quiet and serene Udigie neighbourhood suddenly has a huge traffic of the sick and aged trooping into the treatment center for care.
Some people in the community claim their medications are cheaper, as a source said, “I have a relative there, their drugs are cheaper but I make bold to say the environment where their activities are carried out is not hygienic in anyway”.
On reaching the treatment center, CrossRiverWatch gathered from a patient who for fear of victimization refused mentioning her name that the doctors are Indians and only attend to patient’s at wee hours of the night as none was sighted during the day.
Our reporter observed that patients awaiting treatment were lying around the compound under uncomfortable conditions.
CrossRiverWatch also made efforts to reach the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA in Obudu but it was not immediately possible, but our reporter reached out to a stakeholder in the association, a long time medical practitioner and former Executive Chairman of Obudu Local Government, Dr. Abu Undiandeye, who described the practitioners as “quacks” and doubted if they are following the prescribed legal and professional procedures in whatever they are doing or just putting the lives of the people at greater risk.
When CrossRiverWatch visited the State Ministry of Health located at Leopard Town road for clarification on the issue, the Permanent Secretary and Medical Services Director condemned the act.
“There is a process to follow before any medical program is carried out especially if it involves other parties” said the Permanent Secretary.
According to him, generally before embarking on such program, “First, they have to apply to the state ministry of health attaching their reason as well as the qualifications, certificates of the personnel they intend using. We then sit and consider the proposal and check their backgrounds to see if they are licensed by professional bodies and even carry out indirect interviews with the proposed personnel physically to ascertain their professionalism before approval is given”.
When asked the action that will be taken and how soon it will be effected the Medical Services Director who simply gave his name as Dr. Ikpoti said, “We will contact our people on ground” whom he says are supposed to alert them on such issue adding that by yesterday (Monday) June 22, 2015 an announcement will be made to the public whether the medical outreach is “legal or not”.
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