Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) says the Buhari administration is committed to leaping the hurdle of bringing critical public health services to vulnerable populations especially in the rural areas and other places difficult to access.
According to him, basic surgeries and screening for diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and cancer are now being taken to the under-served and difficult to reach areas through the Integrated Medical Outreach Programme (I-MOP).
Osinbajo spoke on Monday at the flag-off of the nationwide I-MOP at the Bwari Area Council Primary Health Centre in the FCT.
Osinbajo said: “Despite our best efforts, there is a significant gap in bringing public health services to vulnerable populations especially in the rural, mountainous, riverine, peri-urban and other difficult to reach areas in the country.
“So this attempt to take basic healthcare services, health education, basic surgeries and screening for diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, tuberculosis, HIV – AIDS and cancer to these under-served and difficult to reach areas is an eminently sensible and practical plan.
“Not only does it provide free health services to communities that had never in the past enjoyed these sorts of services, but it also provides our public health institutions with invaluable disease identification opportunities and outreach lessons.
“So today, here in Bwari, we will flag-off the conduct of the first round of the Integrated Medical Outreach Programme (I-MOP) for the unreached, under-served and vulnerable communities in 409 selected LGAs in the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.
“The I-MOP intervention is aimed at strengthening and scaling up access to routine immunization and other primary healthcare (PHC) services in selected low performing LGAs.”
On the Buhari administration’s vision of lifting at least 10 million Nigerians out of poverty every year for the next 10 years, Osinbajo restated its commitment to the initiative, saying “it is on course.’’
“Mr. President has repeatedly asserted that his vision of taking ten million Nigerians out of poverty every year for the next ten years depends so clearly on the quantum leap that we must make in our human capacity development attainments especially healthcare.
“This is why this integrated Medical Outreach Programme is a crucial feature of our overall human capacity development effort.”
Stressing the importance of I-MOP project and other efforts by the Federal Government in collaboration with other stakeholders in improving the country’s healthcare system, the vice-president called on Nigerians including residents of selected communities to take advantage of the programme.
He said: “Nigerians and all other nationals residing within the country are really encouraged to take their children especially those under two years to the nearest health facilities for screening and administration of all due antigens.
“All others age groups are also encouraged to visit designated medical outreach centers, and we have one per senatorial district during the five (5) days (23rd to 27th March, 20th – 24th April, and 1st – 5th June 2020) of the I-MOP implementation for basic general medical and even surgical consultations/operations.’’
On the administration’s effort in containing some vaccine-preventable diseases, Osinbajo said in a few months Nigeria and indeed the African continent will be formally declared polio-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to him, routine immunization programme has also improved from 33% in 2016 to 50% as measured in the 2018 National Demographic Health survey.
“The Federal Government maintains a policy to provide immunization services free to all against all vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs).
“The Federal Government is fully responsible for providing the required immunization vaccines in collaboration with our global partners to ensure consistent and sustainable availability of life-saving vaccines for all eligible children in Nigeria.
“We will ensure that in the next couple of months, that Rotavirus and Human Papillomavirus vaccines are introduced into the national immunization schedule to prevent childhood diarrhoea diseases and reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in women.
“It is the firm commitment of the Federal government that no child or individual should be without access to life-saving vaccines and primary health care services,’’ he said in a statement by Mr Laolu Akande,
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice-President.
On the efforts to contain the Coronavirus pandemic, Osinbajo said the threat to Nigeria was not yet and advised Nigerians to continue to observe hygiene advisories.
“The threat is not over and as you know only a few days ago Mr. President directed that a readiness review be undertaken covering both the economy and healthcare services and that report has been submitted to him.
“We are also examining the readiness of our healthcare facilities for whatever eventualities may arise.”
Earlier in their separate remarks, the representative of the Senate President, Sen. Chukwuma Utazi; the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; and the FCT Minister of State, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani, commended the support and leadership provided by both President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo in improving Nigeria’s healthcare system in the past few years.
Other dignitaries at the event included Sen. Philip Aduda (FCT) and the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, the representative of the World Health Organisation.