Brig. Gen. Yusha’u Ahmed, the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has revealed that a staggering 3,615,000 Nigerians have reaped the rewards of the Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) since its establishment back in 2014.
This revelation came forth during the kickoff event for the first quarter of the 2024 Special HIRD/Mobile Healthcare Intervention Programme held at Gosa-Sarki, a community nestled within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In his discourse, he elaborated on how the initiative extensively engaged with the populace, enlightening them on the origins of diseases and preventive measures, as well as providing treatment and facilitating referrals.
He articulated, “Our target is to reach at least 500,000 additional beneficiaries this year (2024).”
The director-general underscored that this initiative serves as a vital conduit through which the NYSC attends to the healthcare needs of rural communities, where access to quality medical services is often scarce.
Moreover, he emphasised the scheme’s concerted efforts in synergy with the Federal Government’s agenda to actualise universal health coverage, thereby enhancing social welfare provisions.
Further detailing the approach, he stated, “In driving this initiative, we leverage the expertise of youth corps medical personnel such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and laboratory scientists that are deployed to render free and quality medical services to communities across the country.
“We also mobilise medical consumables, including drugs, to treat ailments, while referrals are made to relevant health facilities when necessary.”
Ahmed attributed the achievements of the programme to the unwavering support from stakeholders, particularly in the provision of essential resources such as medications and consumables utilised during outreach endeavours.
He lauded the patriotic dedication exhibited by successive batches of youth corps members, who serve as the frontline executors of HIRD initiatives spanning all states of the Federation and the FCT.
Echoing sentiments, Hajiya Zainab Isah, the Director of Community Development Service and Special Projects, heralded the inauguration as the official commencement of the 2024 medical outreach campaigns, slated for nationwide coverage.
She outlined plans for state secretariats to extend healthcare services to numerous communities at various intervals throughout the year.
Elaborating on the current launch, she highlighted, “For the launch we are witnessing here, we have mobilised 50 youth corps medical personnel comprising 20 doctors, 12 pharmacists, 10 nurses, eight medical laboratory scientists to attend to members of this community.
“Highlights of activities we will carry out in the next two days include sensitisation on causes and prevention of diseases, diagnosis, check-ups, and treatment of a wide range of ailments.
“As usual, medical conditions that require greater expertise or more sophisticated facilities than the ones at our disposal will be referred to the appropriate facilities.”
In a show of appreciation, the District Head of Gosa District, Mr. Isaku Joseph, remarked, “It is commendable for the scheme to bring such initiative to the community.”
He expressed optimism that the outreach would contribute significantly to ameliorating the healthcare disparity experienced by the community, urging other organisations to emulate the scheme’s altruistic endeavours in aiding communities wherever feasible.