Joy in Ikenne over free health care

The management of Dideolu Specialist Hospital in collaboration with the Centre for Epidemiology and Health Development (CEHD), Lagos yesterday organised an elaborate free community health screening and enlightenment  programme for residents of Ikenne, Ogun state and its environs.

The programme which took place at Dideolu Specialist Hospital, Ikenne, attracted a large turnout of young and old as well as rich and poor who care about their health.

Mrs Felicia  Adebanjo, a 65-year-old trader was the first person to register to be seen. She had eye and knee problems.

“It was announced at the church in Ikenne, and it is an intervention that beneficiaries will appreciate for a long time to come, especially at this trying time when money is a barrier to seeking health care services,” Mrs Adebanjo said.

Mr Joseph Ojo, a 74-year-old retired teacher, was also expectant of a solution to his age-long frequent urination. With heavy sweating at night, and as such inability to sleep well, he banked on the free health screening and enlightenment programme to solve his health challenges.

To Mrs Abimbola Oyeledun, a 50-year-old pastor at Irolu-Remo, having her eye examined and being able to see was paramount. The pastor walked into the hospital at about 6am.

Chief Mrs Mercy Ajayi, the Iya ijo of Obafemi Awolowo Memorial Anglican Church, Ikenne, was hale and hearty. But knowing that health screening and enlightenment programme is not only for the sick, she took her time to listen to the experts’ talk and get assured that she was taking the right medications for her age and health.

The wife of the Alakene of Ikenne, Olori Caroline Onakade was full of admiration for the programme, which she also participated in. “It should not be when one is sick alone that one should visit the hospital. This will afford one the opportunity of detecting any problem early,” she said.

Olori Onakade, who said pamphlets announcing the free health screening and enlightenment programme was also circulated at the palace, noted the impact would be long -lasting.

She said: “Many people have ailments that they are not aware of. When they are  tested, they will be advised on what to do and the drugs to take to improve their health.”

Vice Chairman and Medical Director, Dideolu Specialist Hospital, Dr (Mrs) Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, described programme as “a great way to give back to the community and also create awareness about health.”

Dr. Awolowo Dosumu said the basic health screening, which included eye tests, blood pressure and blood sugar, would show whether there was any serious illness that needed to be looked into.

She added that those found to have conditions that required specialist care would be asked to come back to the hospital for further care .

“We have specialists on our books, who give appointments to see them. But we have medical officers on ground all the time at the hospital. The specialists do sessions, that is what happens in all healthcare situations all over the world,” she said.

According to her, over 1,500 persons are projected to benefit from the four-day exercise.

Dr Olajide Sobande, a senior registrar at the Department of Community Health, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, giving a health talk on hypertension, declared that being black, age, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and  excessive alcohol intake were some reasons people ended up with such diseases as diabetes and hypertension.

Sobande, who said such things as age and being black were not modifiable, declared that becoming physically active, eating right, not smoking and moderate alcohol use were steps to take to prevent hypertension.

The medical expert declared: “Everybody needs regular medical check up. Anybody that is above 40 years should visit the doctor at least once a year for general medical check up.

“Also, the quantity of food people eat is very important. When served solid food, it should not be more than the size of one’s fist. If one feels that it is not enough, what should be added to it are fruits and vegetables,” he added.

Moreover, Sobande declared that persons found at the medical screening to have high blood pressure should adhere to their medicines and doctor’s advice.

“They need follow up, it is not like malaria that you treat for three days and it’s okay. They need to continue to take their medications and be monitored continually to avoid its complications.

kenne-over-free-health-care2“You have heard of people slumping at functions, becoming paralysed on one side of the body;  people who cannot breathe well when walking; or their body is swelling. Those are some of its complications,” he declared.

Dr Tolulope Adewole, Executive Director, Pathcare Laboratories, which supports the free medical exercise, said it was the tenet of the organisation to support bodies working on ridding Nigeria of infectious and non infectious conditions such as diabetes and stroke.

Adewole said the organisation, for years, had  been campaigning that all Nigerians should know their number–blood pressure and sugar levels, weight, height and body mass index.

“When they know these numbers, they can work to prevent catastrophic events like stroke and diabetes,” he said.

He added that currently in Nigeria, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and unfortunately, a lot of people do not even know that they are diabetic.

Team leader, CEHD, Dr Tochi Okwor, expressed concern that decades back, diseases such as hypertension and diabetes were not prominent like infectious diseases such as diarrhoea and malaria.

Okwor, who said Nigerians now face a double burden of infectious and non-infectious diseases like stroke and cancer, said this was already putting a strain on the health system.

Although diseases like hypertension and diabetes take a long time before they manifest, she said, it is important that Nigerians, especially youths, equip themselves with information on how best to modify their lifestyles and prevent them.

Dideolu Specialist Hospital was built by the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and named after his wife, Chief (Mrs) Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo.

The ongoing free Health Screening and Enlightenment Programme is the first major event to be organised by the hospital after the transition to glory of Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo in September, 2015.