The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Thursday extended free medical services to some 5000 residents of Kaduna, as part of activities to commemorate its 58th anniversary.
The free medical outreach, offered at Hayin Banki, a host community of NAF, was also to enhance civil/military relationship.
Declaring the one-day medical outreach open, the Air Officer Commading Air Training Command (ATC), AVM Nanjul Kumzhi, said the excercise was taking place simultaneously across NAF formations In the country.
Kumzhi, represented by the Chief of Staff, ATC, AVM Elijah Ebiowe, said that the outreach was aimed at bringing the service closer to the community.
He noted that the outreach was also aimed at bringing succour to the people and letting them have a sense of belonging that the military are their friends, not enemies.
“In military warfare, we call it winning hearts and minds of host nation or communities in this instance.
“When you are able to win the minds of the locals, they will see themselves as stakeholders in security by owning theirs, by contributing in information sharing which will aid our effectiveness,” he said.
Kumzhi said that the choice of Hayin Banki community was because of their peaceful coexistence, despite having a mixture of different religious and ethnic groups.
He said that medical checkups, being part of the medical service they would offer, were critical to wellbeing.
“It is only through medical checkup that one is guaranteed if he or she is healthy or not; don’t be surprised if someone looking healthy and strong will be diagnosed with a latent or underlying illness after the check up,” he said.
Also, the Commander 461 NAF Hospital, Air Commodore Anthony Ekpe, said they would offer blood pressure checks, dental and eye checks, and HIV screening, among others.
He said that after the checks and screening, anyone who required referral would be referred to their hospital for proper treatment.
Ekpe called on the locals to patronise the air force hospital, noting that it was not only for NAF personnel.
“We are all Nigerians, and our responsibility is not only to keep you alive but to keep you healthy,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the
Chancellor of Hayin Banki, Unguwan Kanawa Farin Gida, Mr Umar Iliyasu, said the locals had been benefiting from such NAF gesture for many years.
He said the free medical services would go a long way in providing succour to the locals, in the face of financial challenges and their quest to stay healthy.
“A lot of people can’t even afford going to chemists when they are ill, or even to check their health status; this outreach will surely go a long way in assisting the locals,” he said.
Iliyasu promised on behalf of his people that they would continue living peacefully, and also feed the NAF with intelligence reports aimed at securing lives and property in the community.