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The Nigerian Army says it is targeting about 8,000 men, women and children in its free medial outreach aimed at treating patients in Rivers State.

Lt.-Col. Ayoola Akingbemila, the Acting Commander, 6 Division Medical Services and Hospital, Port Harcourt, made the disclosure while inaugurating the exercise in Oduoha-Ogbakiri community, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers.

He said the free medical outreach and sanitation exercise was in continuation of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration aimed at fostering military-civil relationship with its host communities.

“It is customary in the Nigerian Army that whenever we have our army day celebration, we also organise medical outreach programmes for our host communities.

“We carry out the exercise by getting across to people and to enable them get the best expertise that the army has to offer in healthcare.

“We are undertaking free medical counseling, dental evaluation, routine clinical, laboratory testing and pharmacy. We are happy with the massive turnout despite the heavy rain,” he said.

Akingbemila said that some beneficiaries had already been examined and drugs given to patients diagnosed with various ailments.

He said the army had incorporated the `Roll Back Malaria Programme’ in the exercise and was focusing on distributing treated mosquito nets to nursing mothers and the elderly.

The commander said it also offered voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and counseling and make referrals as necessary for those who have been tested.

“We are also counselling patients of sexually transmitted diseases as well as counsel nursing mothers on infant nutrition and breastfeeding,” he said.

One of the beneficiaries, Blessing Chibuike, 28, expressed delight at the health programme adding that she had never participated in HIV screening out of fear that she might be stigmatised, if she tested positive.

She thanked and urged the army to make the exercise a regular one.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that personnel of 6 Division, Nigerian Army, also carried out sanitation in Oil Mill Market, Rumuokwurushi community and on East-West Road in Port Harcourt.

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