The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who inaugurated the “Reference Hospital” at the 115 Special Operations Group, Nigerian Air Force Base in Port Harcourt, said that the hospital would serve as a reference point for delivery of medical services for personnel and residents in the area.
According to him, the recent establishment of air force commands and recruitment of more personnel into the service necessitated the upgrade of its medical facilities across the country.
“The reference hospital was necessitated due to increased demand for medical services occasioned by the expansion of NAF force structure and our engagement in various theatres of operations.
“The hospital and other nearby NAF medical centres would cater for personnel’ medical needs in the South-South geopolitical zone; cater for their dependents and host communities.
“The facility which was a medical centre was renovated and remodelled into a 60-bed hospital – while additional structures were constructed to accommodate more specialised equipment and furniture.
“The hospital has a fully equipped laboratory; an eye clinic and dental centre – while other medical services offered include CT scanning, and renal dialysis, among others,” he said.
Abubakar said that the hospital would carry out clinical research and serve as a resource bank for interns and other health professionals.
He stated that the on-going upgrade of NAF hospitals and medical centres is part of efforts to reposition the country’s air force as a lethal fighting force.
The air chief added that the expansion of NAF medical centres in Abuja, Benin, Enugu, Ipetu-Ijesha (Osun), Kainji (Niger), Kano, Makurdi (Benue), Warri (Delta) and in 23 other commands had been completed.
“We are not unmindful that our service personnel require a healthy mind in a healthy body to enable them to optimally discharge their duties.
“Aside catering for our personnel, we have provided Medicare to over 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons’ in IDP camps in Abuja, Yola Maiduguri, Bama, Markurdi, Lagos and Calabar.
“Similarly, we have conducted over 102 eye surgeries in Maiduguri that has helped to bring joy to those regained their eyesight,” he said.
Speaking, Sen. Duro Faseyi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Air Force, congratulated the air force high command for providing medical, accommodation, training, recreational and sporting facilities across it commands.
He said that the recent acquisition of fighter jets, platforms and training equipment had strengthened the combat readiness of troops, a development which led to the recent successes recorded in military operations in the Northeast.
“All of this is significant as it would boost morale and motivate officers, airmen and airwomen when carrying out their duties,” he said.