The current administration of Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu in Lagos State is bringing about a renaissance in the state’s public health sector.
At the center of its public health policy is the provision of unhindered access to healthcare delivery without financial constraint to the residents.
This has led to the execution of several people friendly medical interventions in the State. The latest is the free surgical intervention programme for residents which was organised in partnership with a non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation. It comprised free surgeries for residents suffering from Lipoma, Hernia, Fibroid and Breast Lumps, as well as free dental and general health screening.
The initiative particularly underscores the commitment of the Sanwo-Olu administration towards revamping, rejuvenating and repositioning the public health sector in the State for topnotch service delivery to the people.
The initiative was in furtherance of the premium placed on healthcare by the state government, especially in reaching out to vulnerable residents of the State at the grassroots including the elderly, the very young, and people living with disabilities.
The long term objective is to institutionalise accessible, efficient and qualitative health care that is affordable to all residents, irrespective of class or status and we are here to demonstrate our commitment to these values.
Recall that the second pillar of the developmental agenda for a greater Lagos promised by the administration, as espoused in T.H.E.M.E.S, centers on the provision of affordable, qualitative and accessible healthcare, as well as the implementation of initiatives to rev up healthcare delivery and equally ensure a healthy, livable and sustainable environment.
In furtherance of this, the 149- Bed Igando Mother and Child Center (MCC) was opened for public use a few days back. The commissioning of the 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.
The current administration really places high premium on access to medical care. 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 has just accomplished.
Recall that the 110-Bed Eti-Osa Maternal and Child Centre (MCC) in Eti-Osa was also recently commissioned. The Eti-Osa MCC was established to ensure quality health service delivery, increase access to maternal and child health services in the state. 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 the goal of achieving universal health coverage.
The 110-bed facility, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to ensure top-class health services for users, would go a long way in bringing about considerable improvement in the maternal and child health indices of Lagos State.
The 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey in Nigeria reveals that out of every 100,000 pregnant women 576 dies at childbirth, while that of Lagos was estimated at 555.
For every 1,000 live births, 77 do not live to make it to their first birthday, while for Lagos, the figure was 45. However, in-spite of being marginally better than the rest of Nigeria, Lagos still has a long way to go.
Universally, the MCC model is intended to address the Sustainable Development Goal 5b, which is to reduce child death from 45 to less than 20 per 1,000 live births and the death of pregnant mothers to less than 40 per 100,000 births.
From 2008 till date, the State Government had built 8 MCCs across the State viz-a-viz Isolo, Ikorodu, Ifako-Ijaye, Amuwo-Odofin, Gbaja (Surulere), Ajeromi and Alimosho. The Igando and Eti-Osa facilities are the eighth and ninth addition respectively.
Each of the centers has five clinics for mothers, babies and children, neonatal unit for premature babies, labor ward with delivery room, emergency clinic, a theatre for Cesarean sections in complicated deliveries and lots more.
These centers apart, from being primarily equipped to reduce maternal and child mortality, also serve as training grounds for staff.
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 coming on board of the Igando and Eti-Osa MCCs further underscores the present administration’s commitment to the provision of unconstrained access to medical care by the citizenry.
It will be recalled that a free medical initiative tagged “Healthy Bee Project”, a collaborative effort of the State Government and a Non-Governmental Organization, BOSKOH Lagos Healthcare Mission International (HMI), recently came to an end.
Through the initiative, over 21, 000 people were screened at seven centres over a period of six days, while a total of 1417 free surgeries were conducted for residents, including eye surgery for children and adults, pediatric surgery, dental surgery, orthopedic surgery, and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) surgery. The designated Primary Healthcare Centres where the screening was done were Ajara PHC in Badagry; Akerele PHC in Surulere; Ikotun PHC in Alimosho; Iga-Idungaran PHC on Lagos Island; Epe PHC in Epe; Onigbongbo PHC in Ikeja and Ita-Elewa PHC in Ikorodu.
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 between ages 0-5 years against childhood and preventable diseases such as yellow fever, tetanus, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, measles and hepatitis.
In addition, the state government has embarked on the production and dissemination of Behavioral Change Communication (B.C.C.) materials reinforcing essential Key house-hold practices of women, family members and communities on danger signs in pregnancy, birth preparedness, exclusive breastfeeding, ten (10) steps to successful pregnancy, nutrition in pregnancy, nutrition for school-age children, community-based newborn care, immunization schedule and management of diarrhea.
Furthermore, the State government has developed and produced a Maternal Health Booklet for women of child-bearing-age in the State. This is a comprehensive health promoting home-based booklet which includes birth planning, pregnancy-related health check-up schedules and emergency care, delivery information, postnatal care, family planning, immunization, neonatal and child care guide.
It acts as a two way-communication tool between health care provider and pregnant mother to raise awareness on safe motherhood and quality maternal and child health services.
The Sanwo-Olu administration has, no doubt, demonstrated that public health remains vital in its ‘Greater Lagos” agenda. The state government recognizes, and rightly so, that health is wealth and this explains why it has swiftly come up with innovative and people-cantered schemes that are carefully designed to change the face of public health in the state.
Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information & strategy, Alausa, Ikeja