By Harrison Arubu
No fewer than 2,000 underprivileged Nigerians are expected to benefit from the 2019 free medical outreach of the Nigerian Health Foundation (NHF) coming up in July, according to the organisers.
Founder of the United States-based nongovernmental charity, Dr Iwuozo Obilo, disclosed this at a fundraising dinner for the programme in New Jersey on Saturday night.
Obilo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the outreach had recorded no fewer than 20,000 beneficiaries, especially in rural communities of Imo and Lagos states, since its inception in 2005.
He said the NHF was established to improve health and welfare conditions in rural Nigeria with limited access to basic necessities such as healthcare.
As always, the 14 edition of the Mission Trips coming up between July 6 and 20, will feature the donation of medical supplies to the targets, according to him.
It will gulp an estimated 50,000 U.S. dollars (N15 million), according to the foundation in a presentation to guests at the event.
Obilo, a pediatrician at the Hackensack University Medical Center, New Jersey, said the programme also included financial empowerment of widows and award of scholarships to indigent students.
Looking back at the last 14 years of the outreach, he identified one of its major challenges as superstition and wrong information about healthcare among the people.
Responding to a question, the NHF founder said the Federal Government had been supporting the programme by easing the issuance of visa to participating non-Nigerian medical personnel and other partners.
He, however, appealed for a waiver of import levies and duties on medical equipment and facilities taken into the country for the programme.
NAN reports that the occasion attracted the creme of the medical profession in America, including Dr Rosa Miranda, the Chief Executive Officer of Children of Joy Pediatrics, who chaired it.
In a remark, Miranda lauded Obilo, other members and partners of the foundation for their patriotism and commitment to the wellbeing of the rural poor.
She urged other privileged individuals and organisations to take a cue from Obilo’s example, which she described as inspiring.
Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Bande, pledged government’s support to the foundation to enhance its gesture.
A similar assurance came from the Nigerian Consul General in New York, Mr Benayaogha Okoyen, who urged privileged individuals and organisations to support the cause.
Mr Seun Sowemimo, a general surgeon based in New Jersey, said the NHF’s medical outreach inspired a similar one he was undertaking for internally displaced persons back home.