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Army offers free medical care to flood victims in Bayelsa

More than 500 residents of Otuokpoti community have benefited from a medical outreach by the 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Yenagoa.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the outreach targets the indigents and people displaced by flood in Otuokpoti community in Ogbia Local Government Area.

The exercise was part of activities of the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile IV’, annual training exercise of the Army.

Speaking during the ceremony on Saturday, Brig-Gen Valentine Okoro, Commander of the Brigade, said the outreach was part of their interventions to the host communities.

According to him, the exercise focus mainly on diagnosing and treating of malaria due to flooding that enables breeding ground for mosquitoes.

He said that the medical team would also focus on other health issues such as screening for common ailments amongst the elderly and children, diabetes, HIV screening, typhoid fever, hypertension and other life threatening ailments.

Okoro noted that the medical outreach was in line with the vision of the Chief of Army Staff, to have a professional and responsive army that would discharge its constitutional duties according to the rule of engagement.

“This outreach is the first in the series of activities to mark this year’s Exercise Crocodile Smile IV.

“We will be embarking on civil supportive programmes aimed at fostering better understanding and deeper cooperation with our host communities to improve civil-military relations within our areas of operation.

”We hope to build the confidence of the civilian population in Nigerian Army towards curbing violence and crimes.

“We hope that the collaboration we have built today with Otuokpoti community will foster a greater understanding between the community and the Nigerian Army to ensure peace and security in the community.

“We are here to render humanitarian assistant to the people, after this outreach, the follow-up medical assistance will be available at the Brigade Medical Centre for the beneficiaries and other less privileged Nigerians,” he said.

The Paramount Ruler of Otuokpoti community, Chief Azibakanye Wongo, expressed happiness for the gesture, adding that help the people, who are vulnerable to sickness due to environmental degradation.

Mrs Alice Joseph, a nursing mother said that she came with her six children and received medical attention with drugs.

“Indeed we shall remain grateful to the army for this gesture at a time we are in distress. It is very compassionate of them and our perception of the military as hostile people, has changed,” Joseph said. (NAN)

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