Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, flagged off a free healthcare programme aimed at combating organ impairment and life-threatening ailments in children.
The initiative tagged “Healthy Bee Project” is a component of the Governor’s development agenda to reposition healthcare and give disadvantaged children access to quality medical care.
The free medical mission is organised in collaboration with Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat (BOSKOH) Healthcare Mission International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
The four-week programme will commence with a six-day screening in seven Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the state, after which those whose conditions require higher medical examinations and surgeries will be taken to the tertiary healthcare facilities for the exercise free of charge.
Flagging off the healthcare project at a ceremony held at LTV Blue Roof in Agidingbi, Governor Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said the programme was purposely designed to keep children fit for their study and activities that would make them attain their potential.
He encouraged parents to utilise the opportunity to take their children for screening and treatment for medical conditions that can limit their mental and physical development.
He said: “If children lack access to good health facilities and quality medical attention, they might lose their ability and functionality. We want to help them fight ailments that can put them at disadvantage. This is the reason the programme is essential to make sure our children live a good and fulfilling life.
“On behalf of the people of Lagos State and for the benefit of our children in Lagos and on behalf of the Governor of Lagos State, I flag off this programme for the benefit of our children.”
The First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, noted that the intention of the medical mission was borne out of the commitment of the Lagos Government to bring down the rate of childhood diseases and disabilities.
She said children whose conditions required advanced care would be examined by a team of children health experts and surgeons from the United States, Europe and Nigeria who are volunteers in the mission.
She said: “As a mother and Medical Doctor, I understand the momentous mileage we stand to gain from this strategic intervention championed by the State Government in partnership with BOSKOH Lagos Healthcare Mission International, and I must say I fully align myself with this all-important medical mission.
“Anything we do for our children today will definitely play a key role in the adults they grow to become in future, and this Healthy Bee Project is specially targeted at building a critical mass of healthy children and adults in the State.”
The First Lady said there would also be free screening for tuberculosis, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS for adults.
Executive Director of the NGO, Mrs. Nike Osai, praised the Lagos government for approving the medical intervention, stressing that it was an investment the state would not regret.
She said part of the objectives of the partnership was to enable Lagos government meet the Item Three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is to realise universal health coverage for children and reduce poverty.
She said: “The Government of Lagos recognises the prime place of children in the survival of humanity. This is the reason the Sanwo-Olu government graciously offered to collaborate with Healthcare Mission International to make our children healthier. The programme will involve screening children for visual and hearing impairments, and other ailments that can negatively impede their capacity to study.
“Those found to have visual or hearing impairments will be provided with glasses and hearing aids to help them overcome the condition. Even though children are the prime targets of this programme, vulnerable adults will also be given health counselling and screening for tuberculosis and HIV. Those found to be positive will be managed using the established channel of treatment of these illnesses.”
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mrs. Titilayo Goncalves said the programme signalled the implementation phase of Sanwo-Olu’s healthcare initiative.
She said the medical outreach was targeted at children between ages 0 to 12, stressing that the choice of the demographic was strategic, because of the need to protect the children from sickness that may impede their potential.
The healthcare programme will be carried out at Ajara PHC in Badagry, Akerele PHC in Surulere, Ikotun PHC in Alimosho, Iga Iduganran PHC on Lagos Island, Epe PHC in Epe, Onigbongo PHC in Ikeja, and Ita-Elewa PHC in Ikorodu.