Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has urged the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to spearhead efforts towards the inclusion of rural hospital visitation in the Residency Training Programme for doctors in Nigeria.

Ngige said this at Alor Health Centre, Idemili South LGA, Anambra State, while flagging off the 2020 edition of the free medical outreach programme of his foundation, Senator Chris Ngige Foundation, in collaboration with NARD.

A statement by Ngige’s media office in Abuja on Tuesday, quoted the minister as appealing to the doctors to make it possible for people in the rural areas to start having good medical system.

“There are 1000 health centres like this (Alor Health Centre) in Nigeria that have been rebuilt and furnished but nobody is operating in them now. I am one of those who said that you can arrange for medical doctors to go to those rural health centres, either they live in there or they are visiting. You must have a way of visiting every community,” Ngige said.

The former Governor of Anambra State noted that by doing so, NARD must have created a reputation for itself now that it has gotten the funds and everything needed for medical training.

“Let the curricular change so that doctors should be going into the rural areas to do what we can call an elective period, whether it is three months in every visitation. Let us make rural posting a mandatory part of the residency training programme because there are cases that cannot come to the teaching hospitals. They cannot afford it.”

He enjoined the new leadership of NARD to take frontline action in this direction, so that there would be something to remember them.

Ngige said he was extending the free medical outreach beyond his hometown, Alor, to neighbouring communities like Abatete, Oraukwu, Ideani and Nnobi, among others.

He said those with ailments like hepatitis, eye problems, amongst others, should take advantage of the outreach to receive adequate treatment, adding that 16 doctors from different fields would handle the cases at the health centres.

Earlier, the First Vice President of NARD, Dr Arome Christopher Adejo, paid glowing tribute to the Honourable Minister for making the free medical outreach possible.

Adejo noted that the outreach would be very beneficial, especially for those suffering from eye diseases who would undergo operation.

The flag-off of the medical outreach programme attracted the clergy, traditional rulers and other community leaders as well as members of the benefitting communities.

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