A member representing Surulere Constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Desmond Elliot, in collaboration with the Association of Resident Doctors, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (ARD-LUTH), has provided a medical outreach to meet the health needs of his constituents, free of charge.
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At the last count, the exercise has taken care of about 46 surgeries, ranging from cataract operations to fibroid, hernia and lipoma excisions, among others.
Other ailments that were handled during the two-day exercise, which was held on Friday and Saturday last week, included screening for Hepatitis A, B and C, high blood pressure, eye defects and pap smear screening, among others.
Also, 2,000 reading glasses were distributed to those who needed them.
Fielding questions from journalists during the event, Elliot said he had been doing medical programmes from time to time.
“In the last quarter of last year, we gave out health insurance coverage to 1,000 people.
So, it is not a new thing; it is just that this one happens to be bigger because we added surgery to it.
There is surgery going on daily, the doctors are amazing.
They have already done about 46 surgeries so far,” he said.
He noted that the average cost of the surgery per patient ranged between N500,000 and N1 million, even as he cited a particular case that has already taken close to N1.
2 million because the patient had to do the surgery twice.
He commended organizations like BetNaija, Nigeria Breweries, Express Solutions and others for their support, and urged other well-meaning individuals and organisations to also support him, as he alone could not shoulder the financial burden.
“I want to appeal to well-meaning Nigerians to support this project.
The money goes straight to the account of the resident doctors, to create transparency.
We have close to 100 cases.
We don’t want to take life-threatening surgery here; we only do minor ones.
The serious ones are transferred to hospital.
BetNaija has given us a commitment that they will be sponsoring this periodically.
I am just a legislator and you know I cannot do this with my funds alone.
My own is just to harness corporate organisations to help us,” he added.
Elliot lamented that Nigeria did not have a good health care system and said there should be more funds in the national budget to respond to the health needs of Nigerians.
“We need to beef up the health coverage scheme to be more robust.
It shouldn’t be about malaria alone; it needs to be big so that hospitals can treat patients.
I feel blessed and honoured seeing people healed from various ailments.
People don’t trust politicians and you can’t force people to trust them, but let your activities show.
By August/September, Surulere will boast of 16-hour power supply because the Injector Power Station will be ready by then,” he added.
The immediate past vice-president, ARD-LUTH, Dr.
Awoniyi Adebayo, who led the resident doctors, said the programme was a way of giving back to society, since the essence of living as human beings was to help the people in need.
He also decried the void in the health sector, saying: “We are still a long way from achieving global health coverage because most of the patients have not really had good medical attention.
Many of the surgeries we have had so far, we have had to transfuse blood to the patients.
You can see somebody living with a blood level of 18 or 23 per cent; that is very low.
The people are longing for health care and I feel that, one day, we will get there but for now, we still have a long way to go.
He called on the Federal Government to emulate advanced countries like the United Kingdom and United States, where people access health care without paying because they have health insurance policies.
“I think it is good, if the government can go in that direction.
The government is doing a lot and I must applaud them, but I think they must look at giving universal health coverage to people.
Health is something that any serious government should pay attention to because it is one of the things that the people need most in life,” he noted.
Adebayo also advised Nigerians to go for regular medical checks.
“I feel people should regularly go for blood pressure check, blood sugar check, oral hygiene check and others.
These are basic check ups that people should go for.
Aged people should also go for Pap smear screening to rule out cervical cancer,” he added.
Ifeanyi Nwafor, a beneficiary of the free medical outreach, described the programme as a blessing to the constituency.
She benefited from the eye screening and free reading glasses.
“I came for eye screening and I was well attended to.
I also got medical eye glasses.
We want Mr.
Elliot to do more of this kind of programme for us in future.
This should be held regularly; he should not relent.
I pray that he should also look into other needs in the constituency and I pray that God will continue to bless him,” she stated.
Daniel Olabisi, another beneficiary, also expressed gratitude to the lawmaker and prayed that God would continue to bless him.
“We are very happy and I pray that God will continue to bless him.
I came here for my eye and also diabetes and hypertension.
I also got reading glasses,” she said.
Lagos lawmaker offers free medicare to constituents