The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “The state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. A relative inability to carry out daily activities to maintain a household or to perform work related functions is considered ill health.
Access to Healthcare without discrimination is a fundamental human right and everyone’s responsibility. Individuals in rural areas often lack adequate healthcare due to accessibility, availability of standard healthcare systems and socio-cultural factors that affect their perception of health compared to the urban population. The provision of health services in rural and remote areas is also significantly affected by limited funding and other resource constraints.
There has always been an inverse distribution of healthcare services in rural when compared to the urban population. It is sad to know that those in the greatest need of medical services in healthcare, especially in the riverine areas, get the lowest quality possible healthcare and usually when illness has degenerated. Therefore, prioritizing rural health is imperative and should be a frontline concern for governance and decision making in the near future.
In response to the plight of riverine communities, Chevron, as part of its commitment to support partnerships and programmes that promote healthy communities, it launched the River Boat Clinic initiative in January 2001 to deliver healthcare directly to its host communities. The programme is run in collaboration with the Delta State government through the Hospital Management Board, HMB.
The River Boat Clinic is a mobile clinic (sea craft) that moves on a weekly basis from one community to another, dispensing medical care to Chevron’s host communities. Its services cover communities in Escravos, Olero (Benin river), Dibi and Abiteye fields. The preventive health education initiated by the medical crew significantly contributed to the reduction of medical cases in the river boat clinic coverage communities.
For almost two decades now, the Oil giant restricted the medical services of the river boat clinic to Escravos communities, abandoning other fields. Indigenes of Olero and Dibi fields in Warri North LGA had long clamoured for restoration of the RBC services but to no avail.
If elected as a member representing the good people of Warri North Constituency at the state house of assembly, Orode Meyiwa Uduaghan, whom through her foundation, ‘The Pink Pearl Foundation’ had aided women across Africa in the fight against breast and cervical cancer, has revealed that she is committed to advocating for the reinstatement of the river boat clinic services to Chevron’s host communities in the LGA.
The Frontline PDP Warri North Aspirant, Orode Uduqghan, would introduce mobile healthcare services in riverine communities, giving them access to convenient and quality healthcare, and implement environmental compliance policies that protect the riverine communities from the effects of pollution.