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SPDC Joint Venture Renews Commitment to Effective Healthcare in Niger Delta

The 27 hospitals directly supported by The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) operated-Joint Venture in the Niger Delta attended to more than 116,413 patients in the first half of this year, and recorded over 672 safe deliveries of babies. The hospitals are part of a total of 35 built and upgraded by SPDC, and sited in Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Edo states. Also, the first-ever community managed community health insurance scheme at Obio in Rivers State, inspired by SPDC, recorded an enrolment of 6,000 people within five months of its inauguration this year.

SPDC Regional Community Health Manager Dr. Babatunde Fakunle gave the figures while reviewing the company’s health care programmes in the Niger Delta. He said: “SPDC is pleased to partner in the provision of effective and affordable health care to the people of the Niger Delta. Our aim is to contribute meaningfully to a health system that is supported and administered by the people themselves.”

SPDC commenced its support for health care in the late 1960s, training personnel and donating drugs and consumables as well as building and equipping infrastructure. It introduced targeted public health programmes and entered into partnerships with NGOs, developmental partners, community based organisations and Government. Between 2004 and 2009 SPDC supported over 113 communities on immunisation services. This involved the provision of logistics including boats, land transport and stipends to immunisers during National Immunisation Days, reaching over 4.3 million children under five years old in the communities. The cold chain storage systems in 15 communities were also strengthened through the supply and installation of solar vaccine equipments for routine immunisation.

Among initiatives introduced are the Comprehensive Community based HIV/AIDS care, treatment and support programme (Niger Delta AIDS Response - NiDAR), the multimedia strategic health communication intervention project (Bayelsan Silhouettes) and the Malaria Health Integration project. In addition, 41 health outreaches were carried out in 87 communities as part of the SPDC-initiated “Health-in-Motion” programme. Through this programme community members were directly reached with a health package consisting of treatment of minor ailments, health screening for hypertension. HIV, diabetes, optometry services and deworming of children.

Dr. Fakunle said: “The flagship of our health care effort this year is the Obio community health insurance scheme, where SPDC worked closely with four communities, Oginigba, Rumuezeolu, Rumuomasi and Rumuobiokani and Health Care International. It is a good example of what can be achieved when Government, the private sector and communities pool their resources towards a common goal. SPDC will continue to work with Government, its agencies and communities to support efficient and affordable healthcare delivery in the Niger Delta.”

Apart from healthcare, SPDC Joint Venture also supports education, skills acquisition by youths, economic empowerment through micro-credit schemes and business training in the Niger Delta. Last year, SPDC and its Joint Venture partners spent some $57.7 million on community development projects.

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