There is a saying that, “a wealthy nation is a healthy nation”. This assertion is anchored on the belief that health is central to human happiness and well-being. A healthy population contributes immensely to the political and socio-economic growth of the nation, as healthy people tend to live longer and are certainly more productive.
The administration is investing massively in the upgrade of health facilities and free healthcare programmes to enhance access to quality healthcare. It is also improving the state of the environmental through its environmental regeneration.
At the centre of its public health policy is the provision of unhindered access to healthcare delivery without financial constraint to the residents. The commissioning of two Mother and Child Centres (MCCs) at Eti-Osa and Igando amply demonstrates the administration’s resolve to transform public health in the state.
The Eti-Osa MCC is a110-bed facility equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to ensure top-class health services for users. It was specially designed to provide integrated healthcare services for women of child bearing age and children. It has modern equipment and furniture that would enhance the achievement of better maternal and child health indices in Eti-Osa Local Government Area and adjoining environs. It will also go a long way to boost our goal of achieving universal health coverage.
Similarly, the 149-bed Igando MCC, located at the Igando General Hospital, further affirms the determination of the current administration to ease access to medical care by the residents. It is unprecedented in the annals of the country for a state government to commission two MCCs within a spate of one month. That is the feat that the state government accomplished.
Undoubtedly, the delivery of qualitative and effective healthcare services in response to the ever-increasing healthcare demand of the expanding population in Lagos is overriding to the administration. Presently, the Sanwo-Olu administration is working hard towards the completion of more MCCs in the state. In particular, the Badagry and Epe MCCs are nearing completion.
The state government has equally empowered its Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas to build health facilities that will cater for the maternal and child health care need for the people at the grassroots. This is aimed at decongesting the secondary and tertiary health facilities in the state.
These centres regularly give free immunization to children from ages 0-5 years against childhood and preventable diseases such as yellow fever, tetanus, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, measles and hepatitis.
In fulfilment of the administration’s pledge to provide equitable and sustainable health care to Lagosians, it organised a free health care delivery service for Lagosians under the “BOSKOH (Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat) Healthy Bee Project” initiative. It was organised in collaboration with Healthcare Mission International, a non-governmental organization (NGO) to deliver free health care services especially to children between ages 0 and 12 with a strategic vision to protect children from sickness that may impede their potentials.
There is no doubt that the Sanwo-Olu administration recognizes the prime place of children in the survival of humanity as it offered to collaborate with Healthcare Mission International to make children healthier. The programme involves screening children for visual and hearing impairments, and other ailments that can negatively impede their capacity to study.
Following the flag off of the programme across the state, not less than 20,000 residents received various forms of medical intervention in seven strategic Primary Healthcare Centres.
Though children are actually the prime targets of the programme, vulnerable adults were also given health counselling and screening for tuberculosis and HIV after which those found to be positive were managed using the established channel of treatment of the illnesses.”
Eye surgeries were carried out at Orile-Agege General Hospital while other surgical operations held simultaneously across all designated hospitals. Surgeries conducted include paediatric, orthopaedic, dental, eye and a host of others. By the final week of the programme, 1,0421 surgeries were conducted at designated General Hospitals across the state.
Similarly, as the state battles the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is creating a conducive atmosphere for frontline health workers to keep giving their best. While it is not possible to take the risky part of the job away, it is absolutely necessary to make provisions for a robust compensation plan that would make the health workers feel appreciated, considering the risk they are always exposed.
Recently, their hazard allowance was raised by 400 per cent while a comprehensive insurance scheme was equally provided for them through a group of leading insurance companies that partnered with the state government to pool together a health insurance cover of N5 billion ($13.89 million at 360/$) for the state COVID-19 health workers and volunteers.
The Sanwo-Olu administration has, no doubt, demonstrated that public health remains vital in its ‘Greater Lagos” Agenda. It recognizes, and rightly so, that health is wealth and this explains why it has swiftly come up with innovative and people-centred schemes that are carefully designed to change the face of public health in the state.
•Ileyemi writes in from Ikeja, Lagos.