About 5000 people in Oloibiri area of Bayelsa State have benefitted from a health outreach organised by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) Joint Venture in furtherance of its Health-in-Motion campaign. Working closely with the Bayelsa State Government, Ogbia Local Government Council and other partners, SPDC took the comprehensive health outreach to 18 communities giving the beneficiaries dental and eye care/surgery, screening for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and malaria, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing, immunisation, pharmaceutical and laboratory services as well as treatment for chronic and minor ailments.
SPDC also used the outreaches to create awareness on the Oloibiri Health Programme, a Shell-sponsored three-year initiative that is expected to promote universal health coverage, strengthen existing health systems, establish learning and operations research, and enhance the social determinants of health in Oloibiri field communities. The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Health Dr. Ayibatonye Owei flagged off the outreach at Ogbia town on September 10 as he dewormed children and presented Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLITNs) to pregnant women. He said: “This health programme Shell is implementing in Ogbia Local Government Areas is most commendable as no other oil company has done such a thing in Bayelsa State despite many years of oil extraction.”
The health outreach then moved to Kolo Creek communities where the Agholo of Agholo, HRH N.D. Amakuro, expressed joy at diverse health professionals providing quality service to the people. The traditional ruler was happy at the implementation of the Oloibiri Health Programme, and that the Kolo General Hospital was earmarked to serve as the secondary facility/referral centre for the programme.
Some beneficiaries testified to the kind of care they received in the hands of the doctors and nurses. Mrs. Oremediepre, a once active woman leader in the community who was diagnosed with severe myopia (short sighted) for several years, received spectacles to correct her condition. In her words, “Today, I can see well. I am grateful and will always remember Shell for this.”
SPDC’s Regional Community Health Manager, Dr. Akinwumi Fajola commented: “The welcome in Oloibiri has been very warm. I’ve been involved in the Health-In-Motion programme since it began in 2009 and the gratitude and smiles of beneficiaries is enough reward for all the planning and hard work. SPDC has demonstrated tremendous care for the health of the people through the programme.”
The SPDC JV has supported community health projects in the Niger Delta since the 1980s, with equipment and pharmaceutical donations as well as the construction of hospitals and implementation of malaria and HIV/AIDs control programmes. Today, the SPDC JV supports 20 health centres in the region.