Over 17, 213 people in Casablanca area of Oke-Ira in Ojodu Local Council Development Area as at Thursday have benefitted from free consultation, treatment on various ailments and surgery, courtesy of the Lagos State Free Medical Health Mission train which started in the area on Monday.
Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) who addressed the residents of the area and beneficiaries of the Free Medical Mission at Casablanca which entered the fourth day, said all the free treatments were provided courtesy of the tax paid by the residents and urged all those who have not been fulfilling their tax obligations to the State to do so.
He explained that what those who have not paid should consider is that it is a matter of conscience and that if they continue to cheat their community, the community would not be there for them when necessary.
He said the gratitude of the beneficiaries should not be to him but to the tax compliant residents of the State whose taxes have been used in paying for the different ailments that have been taken care of at the medical mission.
According to the Governor, the number of beneficiaries who gave testimonies at the event is a clear manifestation that something is definitely wrong with healthcare in the country, but if everyone could imbibe and commit to better habits at the community, local and state levels, the incidence of ill health and sickness would be reduced.
He added that while the state government will continue to lead the advocacy about all the diseases that afflict citizens, they in turn must take responsibility for improving their own health, stressing that they must have a desire that they want to be well, healthy and also live long.
Bringing the message nearer home, the Governor noted with dismay that while he was driving to the venue of the event, he encountered not less than five people who were urinating in public places and charged traditional rulers, Community Development Associations and community leaders to move to stop the habit which he described as being unclean, unhealthy and not speaking well of the residents of Lagos as a people, saying officers of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI)will enforce the law in this respect.
He tasked the people of Oke Ira to lead from the front by being the first community to stop urinating in public, adding that when people engage in such dirty habits, the environment become unclean and it is easy to contract diseases.
Governor Fashola said while the health workers are trying their best to raise the bar in healthcare provision, there is still a distance to travel as the free healthcare of the state government does not cover some categories of terminal diseases.
“Let us find a common solution. Yes this free healthcare will continue for malaria and antenatal consultations and those things but that free healthcare does not cover everything like cancer, heart failure or heart surgeries”, he said.
He stated that health insurance is the solution as people can save between N2000 and N3000 in a fund such that whenever people with major diseases need treatment either locally or in any part of the world, funds can be pooled from it since not every contributor will need the fund at the same time.
“Please consider it because we are thinking about it so that as you understand it, you would tell us whether to continue but it is money that we can put together if you agree because the free healthcare will also continue to cover what it does not.
“Then you would have nothing to fear. It would be similar to Obamacare. We are looking at it. We have started doing it in some communities actually in the last four to five years and we are seeing the result but can the whole state do it? We would come back to you on that”, the Governor said.
Speaking earlier, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris had welcomed the guests and said the Free Medical Health Mission which ends on Friday would take care of all the healthcare needs of the residents who come forward.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Ojodu Local Council Development Area, Hon Julius Oloro said the Eko Free Health Mission is another positive programme with unquantifiable benefits to the people within the Ojodu Local Council Development Area.
Some of the beneficiaries including Mrs Toyin Omogbehin who had her cleft lips operated free of charge, Mrs Omolara Alausa whose son, Usman Alausa was operated upon at no cost and Mr Tosin Ilekura who gave a testimony on behalf of his son, Master Joshua Ilekura who had a successful hernia operation free of charge at the Medical Mission exercise all commended the State Government for the new lease of life given to them.
The Governor later went round the points were the patients were being attended to at the event which had in attendance the Deputy Governor, Hon(Mrs) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire, members of the State Executive Council including the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr (Mrs) Yewande Adeshina, Commissioners for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Olusola Oworu, Youth Sports and Culture, Mr Enitan Oshodi, Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed and Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba and several residents of the area who trooped out in their large numbers.
SPECIAL ADVISER TO H. ON MEDIA
MARCH 20, 2014