In response to the argument as to whether the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program should be scrapped, made optional or continued, the first lady of Nigeria, Dr. (Mrs) Aisha Buhari has said that the introduction of the Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) outreach, validates the argument for the continued relevance of the Scheme.
Mrs. Buhari stated this on Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at the flag-off of a special medical outreach under the health initiative for rural dwellers organised in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the scheme at Jahi village, Abuja.
According to her, the introduction of the HIRD programme had largely been successful and as part of her office’s appreciation, the donation of a well-equipped mobile clinic to the Scheme was to enhance the success of the Corps Medical team.
She noted that the Scheme had proven its relevance in facilitating unity, integration and development of the nation.
The First Lady also said, it was notable that the scheme had made enormous impact, especially among rural dwellers, which had continued to attract commendation from both within and outside the country.
“I am optimistic that the commemoration of the five decades of NYSC’s existence, couple with the introduction the HIRD outreach, will further validate the argument for the continued relevance of the Scheme.
“I have noted with great satisfaction, the giant strides of the Scheme through the provision of health care to Nigerians.
“While identifying and felicitating with the NYSC on this feat, I call on all well-meaning Nigerians and partners to support the activities of Corps Members to help boost the economy.
“While I join millions of Nigerians in celebrating the NYSC at 50, I call on the Management of the Scheme as well as the Corps Members not to relent their efforts in promoting unity of the country by providing quality service delivery to the Nation irrespective of State or place of service”, she said.
On his part, Director-General of NYSC, Brigadier General Yushu’a Ahmed said,
like other developing countries, Nigeria faces challenges in its health sector, but concerted efforts were being made by various stakeholders, including the NYSC, with a view to making the system more functional.
Speaking on the HIRD program, the DG said, “as a Scheme that has continued to expand its frontiers in the delivery of services to Nigerians, NYSC launched its Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) programme in 2014.
“It is a platform through which Corps medical personnel comprising Doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses, and Dentists, amongst others, provide free and quality health care for the people, especially the rural poor.
“I am pleased to report that, so far, over three million Nigerians have benefitted from this initiative. The outreach being flagged-off today comes just five weeks after a similar one we conducted at the IDP Centre, Malaysia Garden, Abuja, where people came out in large numbers to receive free treatment for various medical conditions.
“We made other special interventions such as the administration of vaccines, sensitization of the community on HIV/AIDS prevention and sanitation, among others.
“In line with our commitment to sustaining the relevance of the Scheme through its post-Golden Jubilee operations, I would like to assure Nigerians that the provision of quality health services will remain one of our priorities. Accordingly, we shall continue to work with various stakeholders to make the HIRD programme more impactful”, he said.
In response, Chief of Jahi II community, Mr. Salihu Adamu thanked the NYSC for choosing his community for the medical outreach and pleaded for the continuity of the Scheme as it had positively impacted his community and other rural communities in the area of education and healthcare services.