April 21, 2024

FIRST E&P/NNPC JV ends medical outreach to 11 host communities in Bayelsa


Ilenre Irele

As part of its corporate social responsibility, the OML 83 and 85 NNPC/FIRST Exploration and Petroleum Development Company Limited (FIRST E&P) Joint Venture (‘the JV’) recently concluded the second edition of its medical outreach. The outreach covered over 3,400 residents of its 11 host communities in Bayelsa State which include Koluama 1, Koluama 2, Ekeni, Fishtown, Foropa, Ezetu 1, Ezetu 2, Sangana, Oginibiri, Okumbiri, and Okumbiribeleu.

The programme, which commenced on Friday, 23 February, 2024 and concluded on Wednesday, 28 February, 2024 reached residents in remote communities with free health checks, laboratory tests and treatment. It equally covered eye checks and care, dental services and distribution of mosquito nets. This year’s outreach followed the success of the maiden edition in 2022 which saw a total of 2,600 people spread across eight communities benefit from the initiative.

Speaking during the launch of the five-day medical outreach in Sangana, the Head of Social Performance, FIRST E&P, Ayebatonye Benjamin Basuo, stated that the initiative was implemented following a needs assessment carried out in the host communities.

According to her, “The outreach was in line with FIRST E&P’s commitment to deliver high-impact social performance initiatives aimed at creating a better, sustainable future for our host communities, with a focus on education, infrastructural development, and health projects. Some of the communities reached did not have a hospital and residents needed to travel to other villages to access health care. We are pleased that with this initiative, we have been able to improve the quality of life for many, and in some instances to deliver life-saving interventions”.

She further said, “Beyond this programme, over the years, we have implemented other measures to bridge the healthcare gaps identified in our communities. For example, in 2020, we appointed 10 healthcare personnel to complement the efforts of the state government in caring for people in remote communities”.

In his remarks, the Chief Upstream Investment Officer (CUIO) of NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS), Bala Wunti, noted that the initiative was designed to provide quality healthcare for people in the host communities.

According to Mr Wunti, the intervention would help prevent as well as reduce cases of malaria, dental problems, and permanent loss of vision by providing early diagnosis, free reading glasses and consumables for all related diseases. “This is the second time that NNPC/FIRST E&P Joint Venture initiated a health outreach to our host communities in Bayelsa State. In 2022, eight communities benefited from this medical outreach,” he said.

Mr Wunti expressed gratitude to the communities and other stakeholders for their support. He also assured the people of the company’s commitment to continue operating on the standards of ethics and sustainability while dealing with the environmental and social impacts of its activities.

Also speaking, the Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, Bayelsa State, Dr Ngowari Torunana, congratulated NNPC and FIRST E&P for the intervention to alleviate the suffering of the downtrodden. He noted that the government would continue to create an enabling environment for private sector participation in the health sector.

In his response, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, KEFFESO Host Communities’ Development Trust (KHCDT), His Royal Highness, Amadabo of Moko-Ama Sangana Kingdom, Moses Theophilus, commended NNPC/FIRST E&PJV on the intervention, stressing that all the people of the community appreciate the immense contribution.

“We are pleased about the health outreach and would appreciate it if other oil and gas companies could follow in their footsteps. I must say that the NNPC/FIRST E&P Joint Venture has made a tremendous contribution to developing the Sangana community,” the traditional ruler said.

Speaking, one of the beneficiaries, Gbali Ayawei, expressed appreciation to NNPC/FIRST E&P for bringing the initiative to positively impact the community’s health. “We want to thank NNPC and FIRST E&P for this intervention. This is the second time we are witnessing this, we appreciate all the support,” Mr Ayawei said.

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