The councillor for Ward C in Oke-Ira, Ogba, Ojodu Central Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, Mr. Gbenga Opebi, recently concluded the second edition of a two-day annual free health screening and treatment for residents of the area,
Tagged “Oke-Ira Health Campaign,” the event saw health experts conducting a sensitisation and screening exercise for malaria, arthritis, rheumatism, high blood pressure, blood sugar, diabetes, HIV/AIDs, hepatitis and tuberculosis, among other ailments. Drugs were administered to those suffering from one health challenge or the other.
In a chat with the reporter, Opebi said more than 450 residents of the community benefitted from the free health tests and drugs, in partnership with some pharmaceutical companies.
Opebi lauded firms like May & Baker, Roche Pharmaceuticals, Greenlife Pharmaceuticals, Oculus Pharmacare and others for partnering with him on the programme.
He explained how the programme started last year: “As a councillor, I noticed that people in the area preferred taking local herbs and self-medication whenever they fell ill. I thought about the challenge and introduced this health programme.
“Using local herbs is not a bad idea but people normally abuse this means by taking it in excess, which is harmful to the body.
“When you have information about your body, it would empower you to seek medical expertise. This can be achieved only when you do a proper check-up, which enables you to know your health status.”
Opebi stated that poverty was one of the factors responsible for the way Nigerians manage their health, and called on government to provide affordable health facilities for the masses.
He noted that the health programme would enable residents in the area get the required information on the need for regular check-ups, rather than resorting to self-medication.
“I believe that simple activities such as regular washing of hands go a long way in preventing the spread of diseases like diarrhoea among children and adults. I will continue to work with health practitioners and stakeholders to educate residents on the importance of good hygiene and healthy habits,” he said.
Opebi also explained that he has a number of other programmes for the people: “My aim is to bring all of these activities into one initiative that will educate and create awareness that would lead to behavioural change among the residents.”
A resident, Mr. Jessy Obasi, said the programme was aimed at promoting awareness on how people could properly manage their health.
Obasi said, if residents would keep the environment clean, it would help reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes and, subsequently, the transmission of malaria. He appreciated the convener of the health scheme for the initiative.
Another resident, Mrs. Bola Elufisan, said the councillor was committed to holding several enlightenment health campaigns in the community, including seminars on disease prevention as well as the provision and distribution of high-quality anti-malaria drugs.
Elufisan said: “I am very happy about the tests and because the drugs here are original, since they came directly from the pharmaceutical companies.”
She further called on government to provide drugs in the general hospitals across the state at affordable prices.
Another resident, who identified herself as Alhaja, said she was fortunate to participate in the exercise: “I am indeed grateful to him for this medical intervention and awareness in my neighbourhood. I am a beneficiary of this free malaria testing and I immediately received a pack of anti-malaria drugs and rheumatism cream. At least, it will help me treat the disease so that I can save some money for myself to buy drugs.”
The supervisor for the lkeja Local Government Tuberculosis and Leprosy Centre, Dr. Oladimeji Olasukanmi, gave a health talk on the prevention of tuberculosis (TB). Olasukanmi said TB was a highly infectious disease transmitted from one person to another.
“People should be aware that there are other types of TB, apart from the normal tuberculosis disease found around the chest area in the body. There is TB around the breast area too. Although that is rare, it is equally infectious,” he said.
He explained that TB treatment was free, and early detection and treatment were important to a decrease in the death rate arising from TB.