• Hypertension, diabetes on increase
Some beneficiaries at the programme
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 state government.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris who made this known yesterday, July 13, while giving a progress report of the programme said statistics obtained showed that 8,659 individuals were diagnosed with hypertension; 1,018 with diabetes while 281 others had 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 it is also a reflection of the need for 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 not 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.
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 served as a platform to groom the trust that people have in government’s capability to protect their health.
He also announced that the current phase of the program would continue till the 16th of August, adding that other areas to be visited would include Oriade LCDA, Ikosi-Isheri LCDA, Ikosi-Ejirin LCDA, and Agbado-Oke Odo LCDA.
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 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 statics obtained from communities already visited revealed that there is a steady increase in rate of high blood 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.