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BMC SET TO REJUVENATE HEALTH SERVICE DELIVERY IN NIGERIA

BMC SET TO REJUVENATE HEALTH SERVICE DELIVERY IN NIGERIA

 

By James-Wisdom Abhulimen

Nigerians yearning for a better and innovative health care delivery system can now heave a sigh of relief with the inauguration of the LAPO Benin Medical Care (BMC) Hospital and Diagnostics Centre by Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) on Friday, November 1st 2019 in Benin City, Edo State.

The BMCa multi-specialty 60-bed ultra-modern hospital with a well-resourced diagnostics centre in terms of equipment and personnel is set to address diverse health challenges in Nigeria through cutting edge technology and patient-centric approaches obtainable in advanced countries of the world. The medical center is no doubt a fulfillment of the age-long dream and mandate of LAPO to improve the health status of Nigerians. 

As a development institution, LAPO has always been concerned and committed to the health and socio-economic wellbeing of the public. Theorganization addresses the root causes and manifestations of poverty such as poor health, economic powerlessness, discrimination, ignorance, social exclusion and gender inequality. Founded by Godwin Ehigiamusoe PhD in 1987, the organization has over the years been involved in addressing the challenge of poverty with microfinance, health and social empowerment programmes with a staff strength of 9,654 as at August 2019.

LAPO programmes include gender sensitization aimed at reducing the level of gender inequity, social exclusion and health intervention, which includes the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other tropical diseases. LAPO Microfinance Bank, an offshoot of LAPO remains a leading pro-poor financial institution in Sub- Sahara Africa.

Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), in the implementation of its inclusive development interventions and empowerment services to the general public made healthcare a very fundamental component of its services. Clients receive free health information and services in target communities across the country. This approach has saved thousands of lives, especially those in rural and remote communities. The BMC is a part of the efforts to deepen and strengthen these efforts.

Indeed, access to quality health care or lack of it is a vital factor in the overall assessment of the wellbeing of the people. The health care statistics in some cases are very depressing. Water and good sanitation are still out of the reach of a large number of our people especially, rural dwellers; deplorable maternal and child health care; diagnostic services for early detection of chronic diseases such as cancer are in very limited supply. The losses occasioned by poor health care delivery are enormous. First, are cases of easily preventable deaths and drain on national and personal resources. Nigeria, for instance, is reported to be among nations, whose citizens particularly the elites seek medical care in Europe, North America and Asia. This has a huge depleting impact on our foreign exchange. At the individual level, the pauperization of many Nigerians has worsened as they sell off their assets for medical care in foreign lands.

Poor health is not only an indicator of poverty; it equally constrains the realization of the desired citizens’ contributions to the overall national development. It is for this reason that LAPO has always prioritized health intervention in target communities. From inception, LAPO has been involved in community health improvement and playing a major role in addressing the challenges of malaria, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health issues and other tropical diseases particularly in rural communities across the country. The organisation has deployed innovative prevention, management and support approach in the fight against poor health particularly in rural communities across the country. In 2012, LAPO commenced community health service delivery with the screening of 248 women in Edo State for cervical cancer in collaboration with the Edo State Cervical Cancer Programme. 18 beneficiaries who were diagnosed with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection and other predisposing conditions were freely treated. Between 2015 and June 2019, LAPO improved the health conditions of over 1,225,454 target community members across Nigeria with various health services including awareness creation, screening and referral services.

The institutionalization of the LAPO Community Health Outreach in 2015 is a response to limited health services in rural communities occasioned by poorly equipped medical facilities and lack of access to clean water, sanitation and power supply. This worrisome situation is further compounded by inadequate health professionals and ill-motivated workforce. The LAPO Health Outreach has, therefore, become indispensable in health service delivering in rural communities who otherwise would not have had the opportunity of receiving free medical examination and treatment obtainable in specialist hospitals from medical consultants and specialist doctors. A total of 12,997 persons have benefitted from the LAPO Health Outreach from inception.

It is pertinent to note that LAPO is currently implementing a massive cancer awareness project tagged, the LAPO Community Campaign for Cancer Control (LAPO-C4) in Edo, Lagos, Rivers, Imo and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in partnership with 13 Community-Based Organizations. Over 1,988,271 target community members have been reached with cancer awareness and basic breast, cervical and prostate screening services between 2016 and 2018 under the project.

The Benin Medical Care Limited (BMC) is the latest addition to the LAPO group of vibrant semi-autonomous institutions addressing myriads of socio-economic and health challenges confronting poor and vulnerable people in target communities across the country. Health services available at the medical facility includes In-and-Outpatient Care with Specialist Clinics, Family Health, Paediatrics, Oncology, Surgery, Nephrology, Optometry, Dentistry, Assisted Fertility Services, Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Diagnostics services include CT Scan, Laboratory, Mammography, Fluoroscopy, X-Ray, MRI, amongst others.

Specifically, the BMC seeks to create access to excellent medical services for the mass of Nigerians; assemble quality facilities and human resources to provide excellent medical services, forge strategic partnerships with leading international medical facilities to continuously offer the best technology and medical treatment within Nigeria as well as retrain its staff periodically.

The purpose of the BMC intervention is to address preventable deaths arising from inadequate equipment; poor diagnosis and lack of essential drugs as well as stop further pauperization of poor Nigerians who are forced to sell off their assets to raise funds to access quality diagnostic services and medical treatment abroad.

The hospital is the response of LAPO to the poor indices in the health sector, which has contributed to short life expectancy and health tourism by the elites. The hospital will build partnerships with other health facilities to provide care for the people and will collaborate with LAPO to develop and deploy innovative programmes to reach rural dwellers with quality but affordable health care services. LAPO will continue to be actively involved in various efforts and initiatives to improve the health status of our people, particularly those at the bottom of the society.