By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Nigerian Army Guards Brigade on Thursday commenced free health care services in Toto, Nasarawa state as part of activities to enhance civil military cooperation under Exercise Ayem Akpatuma 11.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Army Headquarters has launched various exercises on Nov. 1 to enhance its operations across the country ahead of the yuletide.
Speaking on the medical outreach, the Commander, Guard Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Muhammed Usman, said that the exercise was meant to create cordial relationship between the army and civilians.
Usman, who was represented by the Garrison Commander, Lt.-Col. Mohammed Maina, added that the exercise would also boost confidence and synergy for army activities within its areas of operations.
“The significance of this exercise cannot be over-emphasised because it boosts confidence, it synergizes our activities within the area of our operations.
“What we are doing here is to come and see how the military can render assistance in terms of medical and the services are absolutely free.
“We are also complementing where we can assist the civilian authority,” he said.
Commanding Officer of Guards Brigade Medical Centre, Lt.-Col. Olayinka Ojo, said that one of the best ways to achieve enhanced civil military relationship was through medical outreach.
Ojo disclosed that the Nigerian army had a health system that takes care of every level of human health from the primary to the tertiary level.
“Today, we came with basic primary care, we are also giving some dental care, we are giving some optometric care and also some laboratory and pharmaceutical products that we are giving to patients.
“What we are going to do today is that we will do some basic screening first, see the patients, give them medications and thereafter we screen out some who have basic primary surgical cases.
“The target population is actually dependent on the community. But on our planning, we plan for 800 to 1,000 people to see and obviously much in terms of surgical cases,” he said.
Ojo said that some of the pstients could be referred to the brigade medical centre in Abuja if need be for further attention.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Alhaji Yunusa Bako, Wazirin Toto, who represented the paramount ruler, Onah of Toto, Alhaji Muhammed Umar, commended the army for its humanitarian services to the community.
Bako said that the medical outreach was the first of its kind in the community and prayed for its continuation at regular interval.
“We are very much happy over the medical exercise extended to this community by the army and we are actually feeling the impact of the army right from when they started coming here.
“We have sensitised residents about the medical exercise that is going on today and we thank God for the turnouts,” he added.
Mrs Habiba Gimba, Health Officer in Toto, said that the medical intervention would go a long way in addressing the health challenges of the people.
Gimba added that the exercise would also boost activities at the community health centre being used by the army.
She advised the beneficiaries to adhere strictly to instructions and utilise the drugs given to them.