Many residents of Lagos have applauded the health initiatives of the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, since he assumed office in May 2019.
A beneficiary of one of the health missions, Adaramoye Lateef, narrated how he got his eye problems solved free of charge by the eye mission.
“When I heard that a medical mission would take place in my neighbourhood, I was overjoyed. After undergoing a screening exercise, I was told that I needed surgery, which was done successfully. I am grateful to the governor for the initiative,” he said.
Another beneficiary, Nike Lawal, also applauded the initiative, which, according to her, was targeted at those at the grassroots.
“My son was having sleepless nights for about two weeks as a result of toothache. I heard of the programme through my uncle who instructed me to take advantage of it. After the screening, the doctor said the tooth would be removed. They did and we are happy now.”
The governor’s wife, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, a medical doctor, has pledged that government would not relent in improving the quality of healthcare and achieving universal health coverage.
She spoke recently at the launch of a free health initiative sponsored by the Lagos State government, in collaboration with the Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation. The programme was tagged “100 in 100 Surgical Intervention Programme.”
She noted that the programme, like other health initiatives of the Sanwo-Olu administration, had showed that the governor was committed to revamping, rejuvenating and repositioning the health sector in the state.
She said the programme was planned to cater for about 100 residents with lipomas, breast lumps, hernia and fibroid, with free consultation and free dental checks. Shew said 50 surgeries were added in view of the large turnout during screening, making a total of 150 free surgeries to be carried out through the medical mission.
Mrs. Sanwo-Olu noted that any medical intervention aimed at addressing any health condition and ameliorating the suffering of citizens, especially the poor and the vulnerablem should be appreciated.
Executive director of the Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation (BOF), Dr. Benjamin Olowojebutu, explained that, during the first day of the surgical intervention, five fibroids, 33 lipoma and 13 breast lump removals were done.
He said it was the first medical outreach his foundation would hold in collaboration with any state government.
“We are grateful to the Lagos State governor for this intervention and we will continually be open to more of this kind of collaborations focused on the indigent folks in the state,” Olowojebutu said.
Executive Director, Healthcare mission International, Mrs Nike Osa applauded the state government for its all inclusive system of governance, noting that the state was partnering with the private sector in the area of quality healthcare.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi stressed that the overall objective of the government was to bring qualitative health care services to the doorsteps of vulnerable people. He said the medical interventions in the state were clear indication of the present administration’s all inclusive system of governance.
“The governor is mindful that many Lagosians cannot fund their health services and the government has put in place the Lagos Health Insurance Scheme, whose primary function is to provide healthcare services to the less privileged,” Abayomi said.
He noted that the resolve of Sanwo-Olu’s government’s to prepare 1,000 health workers in the state for any emerging infectious disease was a right step in the right direction. He lauded the capacity-building efforts of the government in the area of human resource development of the staff of the ministry.
“Right now, Lagos is spending 8.8 per cent of its budget on health and the budget for 2020 has gone up to 9.5 per cent. This will go up by one per cent every year until the end of this administration. With this and other plans, health will enjoy special privileges under this government. This government will also ensure that the on-going brain drain is reversed in Lagos State,” he said.
He recalled that under Sanwo-Olu, the state government inaugurated a 27-member Lagos State Traditional Medicine Research Committee to ensure the realisation of Universal Health Coverage.
On this initiative, Abayomi said: “The inauguration of this group is in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) strategy of the need for the integration of traditional medicine into the healthcare delivery system worldwide. The inauguration of this group is coming at an auspicious time when there is increasing emphasis on the need for the integration of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine into the Universal Healthcare Delivery system globally, internationally and in the country as a whole.
“From the composition of this research group, I am assured that Lagos State will be the first to start offering scientific explanations for the use of herbal medicine in the management of human health challenges. Today’s inauguration is the first of its kind in the country and I am convinced that it will open numerous opportunities in research in the field of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu has also assured that his government would work assiduously towards achieving the goal and making affordable healthcare accessible for all residents by 2025.
He urged Lagosians to enrol in the state’s health insurance scheme to make quality healthcare services affordable and accessible to residents.
Sanwo-Olu said registering for the scheme would enable government to prioritise its healthcare programme to enhance its quality and affordability to residents.
“For health to be completely affordable and accessible, people must subscribe to our health insurance scheme, where we need to increase coverage in terms of registration.
“This is how developed countries are able to tackle their health financing and access. What it means is that everybody will not take ill at once. But the financing process would be in a way that anyone who needs it at any given time will have full access to it, because such person contributed to the scheme.
“Also, the option of health facilities to be used by a subscriber would include private hospitals. All of these are brought out to make healthcare accessible and affordable,” Sanwo-Olu said.