No fewer than 44,000 residents of Ajeromi, Ifelodun, Ojo, Iba, Oto-Awori, Apapa, Iganmu, Lagos Mainland, Yaba, Ibeju-Lekki, Lekki, Oshodi, Isolo, Ejigbo, Eti-Osa, Eti-Osa East, Iru-Victoria Island and Ikoyi-Obalende local governments and local council development area of Lagos have benefitted from the first phase of a free medical expedition programme tagged ‘The Eko Free Health Mission’ sponsored by the Lagos State Government.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris who made this known today while giving a progress report of the programme noted that statistics obtained indicated that 8,659 individuals were diagnosed with hypertension; 1,018 others were diagnosed to have diabetes while 281 people are with symptoms suggestive of cataracts.
“Over 9,000 people have refractive errors; 1,913 people are with periodontitis and 54 cases of HIV positive persons were discovered. These numbers exclude cases of communicable diseases such as malaria, respiratory tract diseases, skin infections, urinary tract infections, and sepsis”, He added.
Idris while expressing worry at the discovery stated that the figures are a serious cause of concern for the State government adding that is also a reflection of the need of Lagosians to make their health a priority.
“There are a lot of individuals in our State who do not know the status of their health and are engaged in activities to improve their wellbeing. Let us all bear in mind, that a poor state of health is a significant hindrance to achieving our life dreams and ambitions”, the Commissioner said.
He noted that the free medical mission programme is designed not only to treat primary health conditions and screen for common diseases but also create a health consciousness and improve health promoting behaviour and practices.
“We encourage everyone to take advantage of the different services that are being offered during the program. The scope of services include; screening services for non-communicable diseases especially hypertension and diabetes, treatment of common ailments, HIV counseling and testing, family planning services, screening and treatment of common Eye diseases as well as refractions and provision of glasses, dental care services and health education or health talks”, the Commissioner stated.
Idris while noting that the State sponsored free Medical Missions programme are short-term interventions stressed that the programme is significant because it offers the State government the opportunity to provide healthcare services to all who come irrespective of their age, gender, socioeconomic status and affiliations within their community for their convenience. He added that the programme serves as a platform to groom the trust that people have put in government’s capability to protect their health.
“And so, no one is exempted from benefitting from this program and this includes the most vulnerable part of our population at the grassroots including the elderly, our very young, pregnant women, people living with disabilities and other health conditions related to maternal and child health” he explained.
While noting that current phase of the program will continue till the 16th of August, 2018, the Commissioner said that other areas to be visited include Oriade LCDA from Tuesday 17th to Thursday 19th July, 2018; Ikosi-Isheri LCDA from Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th July, 2018, Ikosi-Ejirin LCDA from Tuesday 7th to Thursday 9th August, 2018 and Agbado-Oke Odo LCDA from Tuesday 14th to Thursday 16th August, 2018.
“The Medical teams providing these services are competent professionals and are committed to ensuring that the mandates of the State Government are fully realized.
Please bear in mind that these services are provided free of charge and will include free medication as prescribed by our healthcare professionals”, he added.
The Commissioner urged residents to visit designated medical mission sites at the aforementioned local government and local council development areas to get screened and treated for common ailments at no cost.
“As always, the Lagos State Government is working tirelessly to ensure that all citizens have healthcare coverage. The present administration’s commitment to sustainable healthcare and universal health coverage is unshaken and this demands that the State adopts an approach that is not only efficient, but also effective in addressing the growing health demand of the Lagosians”, Idris said.
Speaking in the same vein at a flag-off ceremony held at the Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA secretariat, the Coordinator of the Programme who doubles as the Director Special Projects in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe stated that statistics obtained from communities already visited revealed that there is a steady increase in rate of high pressure and high blood sugar stressing that this calls for serious concern.
Said she, “As doctors we should be concerned about this, a lot of people are being diagnosed with high pressure, a lot of people are having high blood sugar and we can attribute this to poor health education”.
“Also we are seeing that the age at which people need glasses and eye care is gradually getting lower. A lot of people are not taking good care of their eyes, this perhaps is not deliberate but may be borne out of ignorance because there are certain foods, vitamins, activities that you have to do to ensure that your eye sight stays good”, she added.
Expressing worry at this trend, the Coordinator stated the State government has policies and plans in place to address the situation.
“One of these is the school health programme, we are going into primary schools to screen pupils and teach prevention. We teach them on how to maintain their eye sight, dental care even hypertension and diabetes from a young age so that when they are adults like us, the incidence of these diseases will be low”, She stated.
Fasawe however explained the free health mission programme has made the Ministry to know that there is need to intensify health education, sensitization and awareness activities as some residents do not understand what preventive healthcare or healthy lifestyle is.
“So we have identified this and it is towards improving our policies in healthcare. The State Government is continuously finding ways to improve the health status of its ever-increasing population and the plan for achieving this is based on the Health Policy Thrust of the State which is guided by the noble goal that every Lagosian enjoys unfettered access to qualitative healthcare without any barrier whatsoever”, she said.
Adeola Salako (Mrs)
Director, Public Affairs
13th July, 2018