Hundreds of people from Rivers State’s Edeoha community in Ahoada East Local Government Area; and Bayelsa State’s Onopa Community in Yenagoa Local Government Area have benefited from free critical eye-care, including surgeries, at the kick-off of “Vision First Initiative”, a community-focused eye care programme of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC)-operated joint venture.
SPDC’s Community Health Manager, Dr. Akin Fajola, said , “Vision First is part of SPDC’s successful medical outreach, Health-in-Motion, which takes free medical services to communities across the Niger Delta. This time, the focus is on promoting healthy eye-care behaviour and helping people to eliminate and prevent visual impairment and childhood blindness in step with the World Health Organization’s The Right to Sight theme for 2023.”
At the Ahoada East venue, a representative of the Rivers State Department of Public Health, Dr. Seth Nzor, said, “When we see partners, like SPDC, come to our aid, we are very happy. This programme is particularly critical because of the focus on the number one organ in the body, the eye.”
The Chairman, Ahoada East Council of Traditional Rulers, King Felix Otuwarikpo, said, “Today is a happy day for my people and it won’t have been possible without the active collaboration of SPDC, who have come to our aid to address one of the critical challenges of the Upata Kingdom. SPDC is the friendliest corporate organization in interaction with the people of our area. Every time that we have called them, they have always answered us.”
In appreciation of the support from the NNPC/SPDC/TotalEnergies/NAOC joint venture, the monarch said, “We will not go the way of other communities. Our youths will not block offices nor attack pipelines. We have set development agenda for 10 investments in 10 years for our community. Today, we are on the 6th investment. We will continue to create the right environment for your business. Bring more investments to our people.”
At the Onopa Community venue in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Pabara Newton Igwele, said, “I want to thank SPDC on behalf of the government of Bayelsa State, and assure of our continued collaboration and support to the company as it delivers values to the State and its people.”
The Commissioner, represented by Dr. Oputa Kemepador, said, “The eye is a critical part of the body, hence it important for the people to leverage on the noble initiative by SPDC.”
Paramount Ruler, Onopa Community, King Tamama Morris, (represented by the community secretary, Wongs Goodhead Alex), commended SPDC for its show of care to the community.
He said, “We appreciate this laudable initiative because it will remove the burden on the people. A lot of people in community will benefit from the programme because going to seek for medical attention elsewhere will attract fees.”
He pleaded with the SPDC to make “Vision First Initiative” a continuous exercise so that more people will benefit from it.