- Groups, experts hint on how to achieve total physical, mental, spiritual wellbeing at free health forum
By HENRY OKONKWO and EJERE UCHE SAMUEL
Tips on achieving total healthiness was on the front burner recently as a non governmental organization, Oasis Association in collaboration with the Rotary Club Int’l District 9110 Nigeria and other groups rolled out a two -day free health programme.
The event, tagged Family Health Day, had participants counselled, tested, screened and treated on over 10 different health conditions plaguing Nigerians.
The two-day health outreach, held at the expansive Assembly Hall of Grailland, headquarters of the Grail Movement Nigeria in Iju Hills and the Oba’s Palace, Akute- both border towns situated between Lagos and Ogun states, was targeted at residents of the two bustling states.
And as early as 9am, scores of both old and young, men, women and children trooped from far and near into the sequestered grounds of Grailland, converging on the hall to enjoy the opportunity for free medical services on various critical illnesses ranging from Hepatitis B and C, Tuberculosis, HIV, Hypertension, Diabetes and Glucose level check, Polio Immunization and Malaria. Further, preventive materials like Insecticide treated nets, condoms and sanitary towels were distributed free of charge to participants. Also, seasoned experts did not only give tested and trusted tips on how to ensure physical healthiness, but also on how to guarantee mental balance and spiritual wellness for whole wellbeing.
Speaking at the event, President of the Oasis Association, Air-Vice Marshal Olufemi Soewu, explained that the free health programme was hinged on the revealing experience the group had when they noticed that ailments like Hepatitis and Tuberculosis plagued people living in the catchment areas.
Hence, Oasis Association being an NGO that seeks to give hope to humanity by reaching to the needy, cried out to the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, with members further rolling up their sleeves in seeking practical ways to bringing help to the populace. Their commitment and efforts and efforts paid off, as agencies like the Ogun State TB Control showed interest in helping when the idea of free Family Health Day programme was mooted.
This year’s edition, the second, saw more agencies and organizations like Lagos TB Control, Therapy Consult, Dentists from the University of Lagos and many others coming onboard to partner with the association.
AVM Soewu before leaving the podium relayed the trending preventive health tips to participants, who filled the hall. He emphasized that these acclaimed five strategic health tips would go a long way in making one fit, and help keep diseases at bay. “First, ensure you drink more water, to keep your body hydrated. Second, try to exercise often to keep you fit and active. Third, always make sure you take adequate rest. Fourth, endeavor to watch what you eat and cut down on your intake of sugar. Finally, make sure you try to eat alkaline foods to reduce acidity level in the body.”
The health sensitization session continued as health officers- Mr Ayo Akinsola, from the Ogun State TB Control, and Mrs Yetunde Abebi, a HIV counselor, came on and harped on the importance of early diagnosis of ailments. They urged Nigerians to be more watchful of their health and wellbeing. Mr. Akinsola reeled out early warning signs of Tuberculosis, while Mrs. Abebi narrated inspiring stories of how she coped with the stigma of having HIV, and how she has managed to live a normal life for decades even with the virus in her body.
Health experts all over the world have established that wholesome wellness is much more than mere physical health, exercise or nutrition. Rather, it is the full integration of states of physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. And none should stand without the other.
That is the grounds covered by Mr. Joseph Olusegun Ajanlekoko- the National Leader of the Grail Movement Nigeria, who particularly emphasized the spiritual aspect of healthy living.
Mr. Ajanlekoko noted that the greatest problem in the world today is the voluntary spiritual indolence occasioned by the pursuit of physical comfort. He then gave essential tips on how to enthrone a healthy spirit in a person. “One, there is need for spiritual vigilance, because a man who is vigilant in spirit does not allow himself to be weighed down by earthly worries. Two, show more concern for things that aid your spiritual growth and inward vigilance,” he counselled.
Also, he advised people to always be involved in joyful activities, seeking happy fulfilment and unconditional readiness to apply oneself to only what is good. “Finally, the spirit and body,” he stressed, “must be in mutual harmony. The body can only achieve the necessary perfection when all means used for its upbuilding, healing and care are pure and noble.”
On ensuring emotional and mental wellness, a psychotherapist, Mrs Salem Pat Ogunlowo, of Therapy Consult, highlighted the importance of seeking therapy to aid healing and enhance emotional stability. According to her, unlike physical ailments like malaria, typhoid and hepatitis that could easily be diagnosed and treated, mental and emotional instability is deeply seated and cannot be noticed from outward appearance. Hence, it lies inside a person and continues to haunt and torment the person until it leads to calamities like suicide, murder, assault, etc.
She urged Nigerians to always go to talk to trained mental health experts, and seek professional help when they are emotionally burdened by mental issues like depression, emotional abuse, domestic violence, anxiety, bereavement, divorce, work related issues, trauma, anger and many others. “When you’re weighed down mentally, talking to trained experts helps to ease the mind, and soothe you emotionally, so you don’t have to bear it all by yourself” Mrs. Ogunlowo urged.
The resource persons having set the tone, commenced the next phase of the health programme. Blood samples of hundreds of participants were screened by about a dozen medics from different aspects of medicine, while their blood pressure, mouths and teeth were thoroughly checked. The children were lined up and immunized.
Some of the beneficiaries of the health event expressed joy and gratitude, pouring encomiums on Oasis Association and its collaborators for the initiative. They called on government to support the drive.
“I’m a regular beneficiary of this health forum,” said 82 –year- old Chief Felix Mesagan. “I really enjoyed every bit of it, and I feel healthier and assured now, because of what I learnt from the doctors and resource persons. Health is wealth and this kind of programme is something that can’t be done without money. That is why I want to call on government and other corporate organizations to support and assist organizers of this health package with adequate funds. God cannot come down to help us, it’s we humans that would reach out and help one another,” the old man remarked.