More than 2,500 residents of Ogun on Thursday benefitted from the free health initiative organised by the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the initiative included checking of Body Mass Index, screening of the eye and blood sugar level as well as distribution of free eye glasses and drugs.
The programme, which was meant to cater for 2,500 persons, saw more than 5,000 in attendance. Speaking at the flagging off ceremony, Buhari said the programme was to cater for the health of young and old Nigerians. The First Lady, who was represented by Dr Abdulrahaman Kamal, said she had also organised similar initiatives targeted at women and children, particularly those in hard to reach areas.
According to her, it is part of efforts towards complementing government’s efforts in providing improved health care services to the citizenry.
She expressed the hope that the initiative would contribute to the realisation of the WHO Vision 2020 global initiative aimed at eliminating major causes of preventable and treatable blindness.
“This exercise is not about how many people are in need of this service, but it is about how many people will benefit from this exercise.
This is a reminder on the importance of regular medical checkups. Let me also urge the people of Ogun State to take advantage of this exercise as the beginning of an attempt to improve their health and health seeking behaviour” she said.
Gov. Ibikunle Amosun, in his address, said the state had continued with its free healthcare system for pregnant women and those in 0-5 and 70 years and above category. He, however said, healthcare could not be completely free although various initiatives were being deployed to assist the people. Amosun challenged well-meaning individuals to support the health initiative of Buhari while assuring her of the support of the state.
He also thanked her for coming up with the programme, saying “like Oliver Twist, we want more.’’
The wife of Ogun Governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun, said health challenges remain a major concern to government and individuals. She said that no nation could achieve much development without prioritising the health needs of its citizens. Amosun said health interventions were designed to identify diseases in people with the hope of reducing mortality. She urged the people to take advantage of the programme, adding that it was imperative for them take their health seriously.
Some of the beneficiaries, who spoke with NAN, commended the wife of the president over the initiative, saying it enabled them to access medical care.