The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) says no fewer than 610,000 people in Niger Delta have so far benefitted from its free health interventions in the past eight years.
Mr Igo Weli, General Manager, External Relations at SPDC stated this at the opening ceremony of a Community Healthcare Programme at Onopa in Yenagoa, Bayelsa on Wednesday.
Weli, who was represented by Mr Wakil Layiwola, a Manager at the External Relations Department of SPDC, noted that the oil firm believed that a healthy population was critical to a productive workforce.
He said that the programme took quality free healthcare services to the doorsteps of benefitting communities where it operated.
“The Community Care Programme was introduced over a decade ago in the Niger Delta and has since reached thousands of people across Nigeria with its free medical health component tagged ‘Health-in-Motion’.
“We are passionate about health and safety and remain committed to extending this to the people in the communities where we operate.
“We uphold a maxim of we care in our business and believe that healthy citizenry leads to a productive population that strengthens the economy and wealth of a nation,” Weli said.
Speaking at the event, Chief Samuel Morrison, Paramount Ruler in Onopa settlement, applauded the oil firm for the intervention and urged SPDC to equip the Onopa Health Centre built by the Bayelsa government for the benefit of the people.
The monarch said that aside the construction of the building, there were neither equipment nor personnel at the health centre, urging the Bayelsa Ministry of Health to deploy health workers to Onopa.
Dr Ongowari Torunana, who represented the Commissioner of Health, Prof Ebitimi Etebu, pledged to table the request for health personnel before the Health Ministry.
Mrs Jane Dou, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, expressed gratitude and satisfaction to the company, noting that the distribution of insecticide treated nets in the settlement behind the Epie creek would keep malaria at bay.
“We were screened for cervical/breast cancers, including cryotherapy treatments, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and heart diseases.
“Dental care and eye tests, including reading glasses and drugs were dispensed as required while laboratory testing for HIV and malaria, as well as treatment of chronic and minor ailments are available,” Dou said.
More than 1,000 persons comprising children, women and adults have so far received medical attention in the 3-day event.