By Chioma Umeha
They came from different parts of Epe Local government (LGA) of Lagos with various ailments seeking for medical attention. Many went home thanking goodness as solutions were provided for their ailments, while those requiring secondary attention were given clean referral to the General Hospital. Clean referral means that right from there they are transported to the general hospital for further attention.
Since four months, many residents of Lagos State have been enjoying free medical treatment courtesy of Eko Health Mission programme. Under the Eko Health Mission programme, many have received medical check for the body and various conditions, including – diabetes, hypertension and other ailment ravaging the communities visited. Some also received free dental and eye check with glasses.
Recall that the Dr Jide Idris, the State Commissioner for Health, had said early in February that the government will carry out free medical mission across the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas(LGAs/LCDAs) of the State for three-days weekly from March 1, to June 8, 2017.
Over 128,000 Lagos residents have benefited from the on-going Eko Health Mission programme; a medical intervention sponsored by the State government, Idris said.
Idris, who said this weekend, at the flag-off ceremony of the programme for Epe LGA, Eredo and Ikosi-Ijirin LCDAs at the Epe Local Government Secretariat, explained that the beneficiaries cut across 15 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas that have been visited.
Some Epe residents who benefited from the programme could not hide their feelings as they were full of gratitude to the governor.
Akpakala Kolawole, a retired officer who was treated and was further referred to the General Hospital is thankful to the state government for all his efforts to his people, especially to the people of Epe.
Kolawole said: “My left eye is infected and I was given drugs free of charge with a paper to go to General Hospital for further checkup. Mr. Akinwumi Ambode has been trying. I have seen the effect in Epe.” he said.
He also advised other members of the community to come for their own medical checkup like he did.
Indeed, for Odunlami Samuel Oluwole, 83- year- old retired teacher who left the service in 1989, life is good once again after receiving quality medical attention in his eyes free of charge.
“I have gone for eye operation before now, on December 31, 2015, though there was improvement, it was below expectation. So that’s why I said I must come and take the advantage of this. They gave me some advice and further appointment to see doctors in the General Hospital. I was treated of cataract and the doctors that treated me didn’t take any money from me after giving me free glasses,” he said.
For Lasisi Abibat, a 17-year-old secondary school graduate, she can confidently laugh again in the public following free treatment to her teeth.
“I came here to take care of my teeth, and they gave me tooth paste and brush. I was attended to so well and no money was asked of me. They advised me on what to do concerning two of my teeth that are abnormal,” she said excitedly.
However, the highpoint of the Eko Health Mission which took place at Epe Local Government, weekend, was the discovery of high incidence of hypertension and diabetes, a burden in the LGA.
However, Dr Dolapo Fasawe, Director of Eko Free Health Mission and also a Director in Lagos State Ministry of Health noted that the people of Epe in terms of nutrition are well nourished. “We have not been seeing malnutrition which is something common to other local government areas, but unfortunately, there’s a very high incidence of blood pressure and also diabetes,” she said, while commending the large turnout.
“The turnout in this Local Government has been good, we had over 2000 patients yesterday, and as you can see today the crowd is more than yesterday and we very excited about it because the objective is to reach as many as possible with our message and our free health care.”
She further said: “What we do here is primary healthcare, however, we see more complicated issues like hyena, prostate cancer, hypertrophy and we send them to the General Hospitals. Unfortunately, many of these people are not able to bear the cost of the sickness, but they are aware of their conditions. We even see people with cancer, but what this programme does is to educate them more and do a clean referral to the General Hospital, meaning right from here we transport them to the General Hospitals. The government usually tries as much as possible to subsidize the bill. However, the Lagos State insurance scheme is coming up and when people subscribe to this scheme, diseases like this will be treated for next to nothing as long as you are paying your premium,” Dr. Fasawe added.
Dr Fumi Sokumbi, Director, Medical Training programmes, Lagos State Ministry of Health, while emphasising on the importance of the scheme said Eko Health Mission is taking medical care to the grassroots.
“The 2017 Eko health Mission is different and unique because this is the first time we have such a mission that we had to go to all the Local Government Areas at a stretch. Every week we have to go to one LGA and this is the 15th edition of the 2017 Eko Health Mission. We have five LGAs and LCDAs to still visit which we are going to do.
Dr. Sokumbi also advised the people to adopt good personal hygiene and live in good and clean environment because many of these diseases can be prevented by so doing.
According to her, many people were treated for dental care with over 8, 000 having their teeth cleaned.
However, the Sole Administrator of Eredo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) Muyiwa Okesanya, while appreciating the governor said: “The programme is a wonderful initiative because it was part of the campaign promises of Gov. Ambode to close the health gap between the city and rural community; that is the intention of having this programme across the communities.