By Chioma Umeha
Determined to institute Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Lagos State has provided free medical care to 12,753 residents from six Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).
Beneficiaries received the free health service under the platform of Lagos Health Mission programme conducted in Ojo, Oto-Awori, Iba, Badagry, Badagry-West and Olorunda LGAs and LCDAs.
Statistics obtained by Independent while monitoring the first and second phase of the exercise showed that 8,561 persons received attention at the out-patient department (OPD) alone for common ailments, complaints – hypertension, diabetes screening among others.
Some were screened and managed for non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
Others, eyes and dental screening as well as antenatal care were carried out on them, apart from family planning (FP) services provided to persons of reproductive age.
HIV screening and counseling sessions were also performed during the exercise.
Specifically, at the Ojo Town Hall, 4119 people received attention at the out-patient department for common ailments and complaints; hypertension, diabetes screening and management.
Also, 358 persons received dental care, while 930 people were screened and treated at the Eye unit, even as 458 others were screened and counseled at the HIV unit.
That was the first phase of the health mission carried out at Ojo, Oto-Awori and Iba LGAs and LCDAs from Monday, March1 to Wednesday, March 3, 2017.
One of the recipients at Ojo LGA, Comrade Fatai Wahab, politician and businessman who spoke to Independent, said: “I seriously appreciate the governor of Lagos state for what he did for Ojo people. I went for the general body check. Then I also went for eye test and washing of teeth today.”
Statistics from the second phase of the health mission At the three-day exercise in Badagry, Badagry-West & Olorunda LGAs and LCDAs, which ended March 9, 2017, 4442 people were attended to at the OPD for common ailments and complaints, hypertension and diabetes screening and management.
Independent checks further showed that 404 persons obtained dental care, 1715 received attention at the eye care unit, even as the rest were screened and counseled for HIV.
Expressing appreciation to the Lagos State Government, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Aishat Adeleye who was screened and managed for hypertension said that the intervention is a form of succour especially to poor residents who cannot afford the cost of accessing medical care at health facilities.
“With initial doubts in my mind, I came here after I heard about the programme from my neighbour, but I was amazed at the level of coordination I saw here. I was ushered well to the section where I was attended to and got my medications at no cost,” she added.
Another beneficiary, Mr Chidozie Onyewuchi who was seen and treated at the Dental Unit commended the team of medical personnel who attended to him. Onyewuchi added that the relief that came with extraction of his tooth which has been ailing him was awesome.
For Alhaji Niniola Muyideen, a 65-year-old beneficiary who was treated at the out-patient department (OPD) for complaints of body and joint aches stated that the free health services offered by the State government could not have come at a better time than now where the cost of accessing care is very high.
He noted that the initiative of reaching out to the people at the grassroots, especially the poor and downtrodden by the present administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has shown that the present government has a human face and relives the pain of the masses.
Muyideen urged the Governor to increase the pace at which the medical intervention programme will be carried out across the State, stressing that it will help ameliorate the sufferings of the people in accessing quality health care.
State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, who spoke to journalists on the importance of the programme noted that the state Government is continuously finding ways to improve the health status of its ever-increasing population.
Dr Idris added that the plan for achieving this was based on the health policy thrust of the State which is guided by the noble goal that every resident enjoys unfettered access to qualitative healthcare without any barrier whatsoever.
The Lagos Ministry of Health boss explained that the strategies adopted in implementing these policies includes; the introduction and provision of various programmes that have direct impact on the Health outcome of residents.
He stressed that these programmes are geared towards promoting health, detecting diseases early and offering treatment and rehabilitation.
Idris also said that the overarching goal now is ensuring that residents have access to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) adding that the Ministry of Health is working tirelessly to develop and implement strategies, programmes and interventions to improve the health outcome of all residents.
“One of these interventions is the Lagos State Health Mission, which the State Government has used over the years to complement health service delivery in the state. This was put in place, as part of the State Government’s quest to find ways to take healthcare to the grassroots and hard-to-reach areas of Lagos State, by addressing pressing health issues of the rural communities in the state,” the Commissioner said.
While noting the health missions are short-term interventions, Idris stated that the programme is geared towards the strategic development plan of ensuring UHC, adding that the missions provide services that take health care to the doorsteps of its citizens at no cost to them.
“These health missions are significant because they enable this administration to provide healthcare services to all who come irrespective of their age, gender, socioeconomic status and affiliations,” he added.
The Commissioner stated that the vision of sustainable healthcare and universal coverage demanded that the State adopted an approach that was not only efficient, but also effective in addressing the growing health demand of Lagos megacity.
He restated that the medical mission will be carried out across the 20 LGAs and 37 for three months began since March 1 and will run till June 8, 2017.
While urging residents to take advantage of the free services offered by the medical mission, Idris added that the third phase of the mission for Oshodi LGA, Isolo and Ejigbo LCDAs will hold between Tuesday March 14 and Thursday March 16, 2017 at the premises of Oshodi LGA secretariat premises.
The fourth phase for Amuwo-Odofin LGA and Oriade LCDA will hold between Tuesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 23, 2017 at the premises of Amuwo-Odofin LGA secretariat.