The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on 10 April 2018, commenced a 3-day medical and surgical outreach for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Rann IDP Camp in Borno State. The medical outreach, which would last till 13 April 2018, became necessary to avoid humanitarian catastrophe due to the recent withdrawal of humanitarian services by Non-Governmental Organisations from Rann, following the recent attack by remnants of Boko Haram Terrorists.
The outreach, which is at the instance of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, would provide free primary healthcare and curative services, medicated glasses, mass deworming as well as general and eye surgeries. Treated mosquito nets would also be distributed to the IDPs. The outreach is projected to cater for over 3,350 IDPs while between 40 and 65 would benefit from surgeries. On the first day of the Medical Outreach, patients with major complications that required surgeries were airlifted by the NAF Agusta 109 LUH Helicopter to the NAF’s 105 Composite Group in Maiduguri.
So far, 9 IDPs had benefitted from general surgeries while 8 others also benefitted from eye surgeries, all at no cost to the beneficiaries. While speaking during the outreach programme, the Chief of Medical Services, Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal Saleh Shinkafi, noted that medical and surgical interventions were part of NAF’s humanitarian gesture to the IDPs towards ameliorating their health challenges and giving them the opportunity to live normal and productive lives again. Some of the beneficiaries expressed their profound appreciation to the CAS for the show of love and urged other organisations and well-spirited individuals to emulate the NAF. The programme is expected to go a long way in wining the ‘hearts and minds’ of the locals, who were displaced from their ancestral homes by the BHTs.
The NAF’s soft power approach in fighting insurgency, in addition to its military campaign, has so far impacted greatly on the IDPs and has given them a sense of belonging. It would be recalled that the NAF has been in the forefront of humanitarian services in the Northeast for the past 3 years. The NAF had organised medical outreach programmes in the Northeast and indeed in all the entire geopolitical regions of the country. The NAF has equally established emergency hospitals in IDP camps, provided surgical interventions to tackle surgery related cases, and the provision of meals to primary school pupils in Dalori and Bama IDP camps respectively.
Air Vice Marshal
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force