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STATE PRIMARY HEALTH CARE ADVOCACY VISIT SPEECH 2019

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ADDRESS PRESENTED BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF LIFT ABOVE POVERTY ORGANIZATION (LAPO), SABINA IDOWU-OSEHOBO DURING ADVOCACY VISIT TO THE LAGOS STATE PRIMARY HEALTH CARE BOARD ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17TH 2019.

  • The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Lateef Tayo Lawal
  • Directors, Heads and Coordinators of Departments and Programmes
  • Representatives of LAPO Partner NGOs
  • Gentlemen of the Press
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

It is indeed a great honour and privilege for me to address you this day on behalf of the management and staff of Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO). Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) is a non-governmental and not-for-profit development organisation with that is committed to the empowerment of poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria.

Founded by Dr Godwin Eseiwi Ehigiamusoe in 1987, 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. Our areas of programming in the health sector are malaria and tropical diseases, cancer, HIV/AIDS, water, sanitation and hygiene.

LAPO believes that poverty is further reinforced by diseases and vice versa. Right from its inception in 1987, the organization has therefore been involved in community health improvement and playing a major role in addressing the challenges of HIV/AIDS, malaria, maternal and child health issues particularly in rural communities across the country. In 2018 alone, we reached a total of 281,464 community members with our health services, including screening and referrals with 1,306,845 persons reached with information, education and enlightenment materials. Between October 2015 and October 2019, a total of 14,413 persons benefitted from our Community Health Outreach (CHO) programmes in Edo, Oyo state and FCT, Abuja covering full medical compliments and surgery.

LAPO is worried that cancer is now a major cause of mortality in Nigeria with over 100,000 persons diagnosed every year out of which about 80% die due to late detection. Towards addressing this challenge, the organization is currently implementing a massive cancer programme tagged the LAPO Community Campaign for Cancer Control (LAPO-C4) in Nigeria.

Initiated in 2016 by the Founder of LAPO, the project is being implemented in Lagos, Rivers, Edo, Imo and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in partnership with 13 Community-Based Organizations. JAKIN NGO, Yaba and His Marvelous Grace Support Foundation (HMGSF), Ikorodu are our LAPO-C4 implementing CBOs in Lagos State. The project areas of interventions include information dissemination and education on prostate, breast, cervical, liver and childhood cancers, basic screening services at primary health care level for breast, cervical and prostate cancers, strengthening community response through the establishment of Community Cancer Control Committees or strengthening of Ward Development Committees (WDCs)  and strengthening community-heath facility referral linkages for uptake of services. This project builds on the LAPO cervical and breast cancer programme implemented in collaboration with the Edo State Ministry of Health in 2015.

The project is making significant contributions towards achieving the objectives of the NCCP through enhanced collaboration with local CBOs and stakeholders at the community, local, state and federal levels. Key accomplishments under the First Phase of the Project between Nov. 2016 and October, 2018 include:

  1. Cancer awareness of 1,941,992 (654,488M & 1,287,504F) persons
  2. Basic screening services (Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA), Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) & Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) for 26,553 (3,126M & 23,427F) persons
  3. Referral for further cancer screening services reaching 19,394 (3,079M &16,315F) beneficiaries and
  4. Referrals of 332 (16M &316F) persons for treatment.

In May 2019, LAPO engaged the services of Development and Data Science Consultants (DDSC), Abuja to carry out an external evaluation of the project. The LAPO Board reviewed the External Evaluation Report in August 2019 and gave approval to commence the implementation of Phase II of the project.

The major hindrance to the achievement of the LAPO-C4 project objectives include inadequate access to 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 over emphasized. The best approach is the integration of cancer control services, including the introduction of HPV vaccine into the PHC routine vaccine schedule with the primary health care delivery in accordance with the policy direction of government on cancer control as stated in 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 approval of LPHCB to enable the project work with PHCs and their key personnel across the target LGAs.

The LAPO-C4 project team is therefore requesting for the following from the Government of Lagos State through the Lagos Primary Health Care Board:

  1. Development of referral linkage between LAPO-C4 project community volunteers and selected Primary Health Centres (PHCs) to enable the project leverage on various initiatives of Government for expanded access to breast and cervical cancer screening, HPV vaccination, etc.
  2. Approval of LAPO-C4 partnership with target PHCs in the State. This approval will enable the PHCs serve as basic screening and referral points where CBE, VIA and PSA screening and referrals to secondary and tertiary facilities can be provided.

I also wish to seize this opportunity to call on well-meaning individuals and corporate organizations to support LAPO in the implementation of this project towards reducing the prevalence, morbidity and socio-economic effect of cancer in the country.

Thank you and God bless for your attention and anticipated cooperation.

 

Sabina Idowu-Osehobo

Executive Director

Lift Above Poverty Organization

Date: 17th December, 2019


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