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An Address Presented By The Executive Director Of Lift Above Poverty Organization (Lapo), Sabina Idowu-Osehobo During Advocacy Visit To The Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry Of Health On Wednesday, January 29th 2020.

  • Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Health
  • Directors, Heads and Coordinators of Departments and Programmes
  • Gentlemen of the Press
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

It is indeed a great honour and privilege for me to address you on behalf of the management and staff of Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), a frontline non-governmental and not-for-profit development organization in Nigeria.

Founded by Dr Godwin Eseiwi Ehigiamusoe in 1987, LAPO is committed to the empowerment of poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria. The organisation has demonstrated uncommon commitment to poverty alleviation through the implementation of innovative financial and non-financial development programmes, which address the root causes and manifestations of poverty such as poor health, economic powerlessness, discrimination, ignorance, social exclusion and gender inequality.

LAPO programmes include gender sensitization aimed at reducing the level of gender-based inequity, social exclusion and the socio-economic burden of ill-health by focusing attention on preventive health services. The vision of LAPO is a healthy and informed society characterized by prosperity, justice and equity.

In 2016, LAPO Founder, Dr Godwin Ehigiamusoe initiated the LAPO Community Campaign for Cancer Control (LAPO-C4) project currently being implemented in Lagos, Edo, Imo, Rivers and FCT-Abuja with the support of local CBOs. The LAPO -C4 project is aimed at addressing the increasing rate of cancer death in Nigeria through improved local actions for awareness creation, provision of basic screening and referral services.

The main barriers to cancer control in Nigeria include inadequate awareness and poor access to screening services, especially at the community level. The project areas of interventions include (1) Awareness creation on prostate, breast, cervical, liver and childhood cancer; (2) Basic screening services at Primary Health Care level for breast, cervical and prostate cancers; (3) Strengthening community response through the establishment of Community Cancer Control Committees/Ward Development Committees (WDCs) and; (4) Strengthening community-health facility referral linkages for uptake of services. The issues that constituted a major hindrance to the achievement of the LAPO-C4 project in the first phase between November 2016 and October 2018 include inadequate access to cancer screening facilities in target communities, and where available, the cost is largely unaffordable to poor community members.

The need for improved access to basic cancer screening services across the State cannot be overemphasized. The best approach is the integration of cancer control services, including the inclusion of HPV vaccine in the routine immunisation schedule of the primary health care. This is in accordance with the 2018 – 2020 Nigeria National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP).

The LAPO-C4 screening services are limited to basic screening for detection of pre-malignant conditions that can be provided at the primary health care level. These include PSA, VIA and Clinical Breast Exam (CBE). The services also include referrals from PHCs to secondary or tertiary health facilities for effective management of precancerous lesions (NCCP, 2018 – 2022). To enable us achieve this effectively, LAPO-C4 is requesting for the support of Edo State MOH to enable the project work with medical personnel and facilities across the State.

Also, LAPO is commencing a project partnership with PayMedix, a Benin-based software development company for the 247 Medic Pilot Project. The project is aimed at promoting access of community members, irrespective of their location to quality healthcare through mobile technology. The 247Medic APP provides an online medical consultation, drug prescription and advisory platform: providing patients in cities and rural area the facility to call or chat with a doctor, request on-site laboratory services at the comfort of their homes and get drugs delivered to their doorsteps. 247Medic also provides end-users with the opportunity to store their medical history and share it with their healthcare providers. 247Medic delivers affordable and time-saving healthcare services through phones and computers. LAPO and its partner, PayMedix are requesting for partnership with government for the success of this project in the State.

LAPO is, therefore, requesting for the following support and partnership from the Government of Edo State:

  1. Approval of referral linkage between LAPO MCH project and government health facilities to enable the project leverage on the services of existing public hospitals for maternal and child health services.
  2. Approval of LAPO-C4 partnership with primary health facilities in the State. This will enable the PHCs personnel to provide CBE, VIA and PSA screenings and referral services to secondary and tertiary facilities. The staff of the selected facilities will be trained and equipped for service delivery.
  3. Approve the implementation of 247Medic Pilot Project in selected PHCs and or general hospitals across the three zones. The selected facilities will be designated as e-Health centres where clients can consult with doctors electronically and receive treatment accordingly.

I wish to use this opportunity to appeal to the government to institute a policy on cancer treatment support for indigent individuals considering the enormous financial burden of managing the ailment in Nigeria. I also wish to seize this opportunity to call on well-meaning individuals and corporate organizations to support LAPO in the implementation of cancer prevention and MCH projects in the country.

I appreciate the opportunity given me to address the PS and key officials of the State Ministry of Health (MOH) which is an indication of your commitment to the improved health status of the people of Edo State.

Thank you and God bless.

Sabina Idowu-Osehobo

Office of the Executive Director

Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO)

January 29, 2020

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