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Action Newsletter December 2019 Edition

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LAPO Empowers 1.2 Million Nigerians With Health, Social Services 

Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) improved the socio-economic and health conditions of 1,257,297 community members across the country with her innovative services in 2019.

A breakdown of the figures indicates that 274,929 persons were reached with direct services in target communities while 976,368 were empowered through Information, Communication and Enlightenment Materials.

Similarly, the financial subsidiary of the organization, LAPO Rural Development Initiative (LARDI) supported 129,637 rural farmers with the sum of 10,936,270,300 during the period under review. The figure represents 49% increase over the sum of 7,342,503,550 disbursed to the beneficiaries in 2018.

The Executive Director of LAPO, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo who stated this while reviewing the activities of the organisation during the period expressed satisfaction with the performance.

She restated LAPO’s commitment to improving the lives of community members and building the capacity of women to challenge harmful socio-cultural structures and processes that limit their progress and enjoyment of good life.

Idowu-Osehobo said social and health empowerment programmes have always been an integral part of LAPO’s poverty reduction efforts, insisting that no meaningful development can be achieved without the inclusion and involvement of women in the development process.

She said the organization delivers innovative health, social empowerment and financial services to target beneficiaries and expressed gratitude to LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited and other organisations that have been part of the history and success story of LAPO over the years.

LAPO Promotes Human Rights, Grants 2,017 Women Free Legal Aid 

Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) promotes all-round progress for women and gives voice to the voiceless and the poor in society. Since 1987, the organization has been defending the rights of abused and violated women in Nigeria through pro bono service.

In 2019, LAPO granted 88 vulnerable women including those who were abused and violated free legal intervention and generally sensitized 2,764 persons on legal issues across the country.

Head of Legal Unit, Barr. Vera Asenoguan who denounced the humiliating and barbaric treatment women are often subjected especially at the demise of their spouses encouraged women to stand up for their rights always.

She expressed worry that most of the rights as enshrined in the constitution such as the rights to the dignity of the human person, freedom from discrimination, right to life, right to a fair hearing and freedom to own and inherit property are still being violated with impunity in Nigeria.

Barr. Asenoguan emphasized that it was offensive and unconstitutional to subject women to any form of abuse under the guise of religious or customary practices, adding that those perpetrating violence against their spouses now risks jail terms in Edo State.

She restated LAPO’s commitment to building the capacity of women to challenge and resist socio-cultural practices and structures that encourage injustice and discrimination against them even as she advised women to participate actively in decision-making that will determine the future of their families and society.

LAPO Equips 3,304 Micro Business Owners With Business, Financial Skills

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are agents of economic growth, job generation and poverty reduction all over the world. In Nigeria, they are playing an important role in income distribution, employment and wealth creation.

As a part of her contributions to the development of this vital sector of the economy, Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) is engaged in the capacity development of microenterprise operators as well as supports the growth and development of their businesses.

In 2019, 3,304 micro-entrepreneurs mostly women received lectures on bookkeeping, business planning and development, customer relationship, financial literacy and record keeping. Features of the programme include lectures, practical training and experience sharing.

Most of the beneficiaries are now able to track their income and expenditure and save for the future development of their businesses. They are in turn giving back to society by providing opportunities, mentorship, and resources to others in need.

LAPO Combats Cancer, Screens 27,689 Community Members

Cancer mortality remains the highest in Africa and among the highest in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.

As a development organisation, Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) is committed to disease prevention and health improvement in Nigeria. In 2016, the organisation initiated the LAPO Community Campaign for Cancer Control (LAPO-C4) in Nigeria with the main objective of addressing increasing cancer morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. The project is being implemented in collaboration with 13 Community-Based Organizations in Lagos, Edo, Imo, Abuja and Rivers State.

With the LAPO-C4 project, LAPO hascreated cancer awareness amongst Five Millioncommunity members till date, screened 27,689 community members for the ailment, referred 19,893 for screening with 339 persons with health conditions referred for treatment in government-approved health facilities.

The Executive Director of LAPO, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo who said the project is aimed at preventing and mitigating cancer-related deaths in Nigeria expressed concern that almost 102,000 new cases of cancer occur annually in Nigeria with over 60% in women due to breast and cervical cancer.

She traced the main barriers to cancer control in Nigeria to poor access to screening services and inadequate awareness noting that with early detection, over 80% of cancer cases are preventable while 40% of the disease can be eradicated by lifestyle changes.

Idowu-Osehobo advised women to ascertain their health status regularly as breast and cervical cancer pose a serious threat to their lives, adding that the organization has over the years been involved in community health sensitization and support for health facility upgrading in rural communities across the country.

She said the main barriers to cancer control in Nigeria include poor access to screening services and inadequate awareness about the ailment.

Ultimately, the project is designed to assist community members to detect cancer ailments early for timely uptake of preventive treatment.

2019 World AIDS Day: LAPO Holds Sensitisation Rallies

LAPO is committed to addressing the challenges of HIV/AIDS among vulnerable people in Nigeria. The organisation deploys innovative prevention, management and support approaches in the fight against the ailment particularly in rural communities across the country.

As part of the activities to mark the 2019 World AIDS Day, LAPO joined other NGOs to organise rallies in major streets of Benin metropolis to sensitise and create awareness on the prevention and treatment of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which participated in the rallies include the National Orientation Agency, Edo State Agency for the control of HIV/AIDS (Edo SACA) and the Civil Society for HIV/AIDS (CISHAN). The streets and areas paraded include Upper Sakponba Road, Dawson Road, New Benin and Oba Ovonramwen(Kings Square).

The Executive Director of LAPO, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo said the campaign aimed to sensitise the people about HIV/ AIDS, create awareness about the disease and encourage people to ascertain their status.

Represented by Mr Chiekwene Godwin, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo explained that the theme of the year which is “Communities Make The Difference” implies that anyone living with the HIV/AIDS virus within the communities can live a normal life depending on the attitude of members of the community.

“We joined other NGOs and the Edo State government to create awareness about the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and to sensitize the people that HIV/AIDS is not the end of the world. It is not a death sentence. They should go out and check their status.”

Also commenting, the Edo SACA Executive Director, Mrs Flora Oyakhilomen stated that the World AIDS Day which began in 1988 was to commemorate those that have died of the disease and those living with the virus and that the day is usually marked every December 1st all over the world.

She explained that since 28th of December 2019, the Edo State government began the activities to mark the day with a seminar, a novelty football match, a Jumat service and Sunday thanksgiving service.

On his part, Edo SACA Board Chairman, Dr Alex Okoh thanked all the NGOs that collaborated to sensitise the people on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, adding that “we look forward to better days ahead. In oneness, we will achieve more.”

In his contribution, the Edo State Coordinator of the Civil Society for HIV/AIDS (CISHAN), Saliu Braimoh Aidorolo said in line with the theme of the 2019 World Aids Day, HIV/AIDS does not respect anybody, noting that the whole essence of the rally was awareness creation with special focus on sex workers, social workers, health workers and those with the virus.

LAPO distributed HIV/AIDS handbills and other enlightenment materials on the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS(PMTCT) and the various ways of spreading the disease at the rally.

HIV/AIDS Intervention Project: LAPO Seeks Commitment Of Oredo Legislative Arm

Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) has appealed to the Legislative Arm of Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State to commit itself to mobilize target communities, schools and health personnel in the council area to participate in its current HIV/AIDs intervention project.

As a part of its HIV/AIDs intervention project, LAPO is currently implementing Adolescents and Youth Reproductive Health (AYRH) project among in-school and out-of-school adolescents and youths in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State.

Speaking at a stakeholder meeting with the Oredo Local Government legislators, the LAPO Executive Director, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo said the project is aimed at creating awareness on Reproductive Health (RH) issues such as HIV and family planning as well as enhancing access to youth-friendly facilities.

She said the project will achieve positive behavioural change among youths through increased sexuality education thereby reducing vulnerability to HIV, adding that the support of the legislative arm of the Local Government Council was critical to enable LAPO to secure the commitment of target communities, schools and health facilities in the locality to the project.

Sabina Idowu-Osehobo assured that LAPO would continue to collaborate with government at different levels to eradicate the challenges of HIV and RH among youths and appreciated the management of the local government for the opportunity.

Responding on behalf of the legislators, the leader of Oredo Local Government Legislative Arm, Hon. EwansihaOsazuwa Jeffery commended LAPO for the initiative and expressed total commitment for the project.

LAPO Supports Rural Farmers With 11bn

Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) improved the nation’s food security status as well as enhanced the production capacity of 129,637 rural farmers with a loan disbursement of 10,936,270,300 in 2019 financial year.

The figure represents 49% increase over the sum of 7,342,503,550 disbursed to the beneficiaries in 2018.

The Executive Director, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo disclosed this while reviewing the performance of the LAPO Rural Development Initiative (LARDI), the financial arm of the organisation during the period.

Idowu-Osehobo who restated LAPO’s commitment to addressing the problem of food security in Nigeria through rural agricultural financing attributes LARDI’s outstanding performance over the years to strong institutional strength, staff commitment to excellence and hard work, adding that the organization was ready to maintain its excellent performance trajectory.

She noted that LARDI was entrusted with the mandate of improving the quality of life of rural dwellers through committed support for livelihood activities intended to energize and drive the rural economy, adding that the organization equally builds the capacity of rural farmers through on-farm demonstration and training.

Idowu-Osehobo enjoined low-income farmers to take advantage of the affordable loan opportunity offered by LAPO to enhance the growth and development of their farm enterprises.

She expressed delight that beneficiaries who were hitherto engaged in subsistence farming have expanded their farm enterprises with improved income for their families and savings for future investment.

She charged the staff to remain guided by the organization’s core values of integrity, innovativeness, simplicity and excellence, which has continued to sustain the organization.

LAPO Commissions Benin Medical Care (BMC) Hospital and Diagnostics Centre

Nigerians yearning for a better and innovative health care delivery system can now heave a sigh of relief as Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) has inaugurated its ultra-modern Benin Medical Care (BMC) hospital and diagnostics Centre.

The hospital, located at the Hospital Complex at 53, Adesuwa Grammar School Road, Off Sapele Road, Benin City, Edo State was commissioned by the Executive Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki on Friday, November 1st 2019. 

The 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.

A multi-speciality 60-bed hospital with a well-resourced diagnostics centre in terms of equipment and personnel, it 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 centre is no doubt a fulfilment of the age-long dream and mandate of LAPO to improve the health status of Nigerians.

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.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Godwin Ehigiamusoe, the Chairman, Board of Directors of the hospital said the medical care seeks to enhance the health status of Nigerians, especially in Benin City and environs through the provision of quality medical services that are accessible and affordable.

Ehigiamusoe said the organization was motivated to set up the medical facility to address preventable deaths arising from inadequate medical.

He listed pauperization arising from poor Nigerians selling off assets to access quality diagnostic service, lack of access to quality healthcare in rural communities and create access to excellent medical services to the masses among reasons for the establishment of the hospital.

“Benin Medical Care which is a multi-specialist entity envisaged to be a centre of excellence in medical care in the region. BMC shall in conjunction with LAPO, run community health outreach programmes.

“Major components of the programme shall include rural mobile clinics which shall provide opportunities for rural dwellers to have access to basic medical services

“Mobile phone health services which shall enable patients in remote communities to be reached with basic medical services through digital channels and community-based health insurance scheme through which cost of access to health services will be lowered for needy individuals.
“BMC diagnostics which is a well-resourced entity is to provide excellent diagnostic services, state-of-the-art facilities including 1-5T MRI, 64 slice CT Scan, digital mammography, 40 ultrasound scan, digital X-rays, ECG as well as fluoroscopy, and fully automated laboratory services,” he said.

He opined that achieving an acceptable level of access to healthcare in Nigeria, especially in rural communities, would require urgent and substantial involvement of non-state actors such as the private sector, non-government organizations and international development organizations.
He, however, noted that with adequate planning and dedication to excellent service, the double bottom-line of profit and social goal can be achieved in healthcare management.

Speaking before commissioning the medical facility, Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki commended Godwin Ehigiamusoe and the management of LAPO for the foresight in establishing the hospital in the state.

Obaseki noted that the BMC will validate the effort his administration has made in the health sector.

He said his administration has launched the Edo Healthcare Improvement Programme (Edo-HIP) and the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) to facilitate healthcare delivery in the state.

According to him, “in most of the world, the bulk of medical providers are from the private sectors while the government focuses on policies and primary healthcare delivery system, the private sector comes up with the investment in specialized areas of healthcare provision.”

The governor, who noted that an average of 20,000 Nigerians travel abroad every year for medical assistance and the money spent runs into millions of dollars, said opined that it is possible for “us in Nigeria to get the same quality of care that these people are travelling to other parts of the world to receive.”

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.

LAPO Improves Community Health, Screens 103,606 for Common Diseases

The Executive Director of Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), Sabina Idowu-Osehobo has expressed the organization’s determination to curtail the incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) in target communities across the country.

She said LAPO screened and treated 103,606 community members for HIV, malaria, high blood pressure (BP), blood sugar, hepatitis and diabetes in target states including Lagos, Abuja, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Osun and Edo in 2019.

She noted that regular health screening by the organization has contributed significantly to a reduction in drug abuse among beneficiaries especially in rural communities due to improved knowledge of the importance of proper diagnosis before drug administration.

She said LAPO encourages members of the public to undertake regular health check-up towards promoting early detection and management of tropical diseases even as he expressed displeasure over the non-availability of health screening centres in rural communities and the rising cost of healthcare, which he said is beyond the reach of the poor.

Screening is a major component of LAPO’s health intervention strategy. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are also sensitised during antenatal and child immunization clinic days in local health facilities and community meeting venues.

LAPO Calls For Collective Efforts To End Malaria

Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) has called for concerted efforts and effective collaborations to overcome malaria in Nigeria.

At a sensitisation seminar to mark the World Malaria Day on April 25, 2019, the Executive Director, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo expressed the strong belief that the theme: “Zero Malaria Starts With Me” is achievable through the collective efforts of every stakeholder including the vulnerable, health care providers, government and international development bodies.

She said the LAPO awareness campaign focuses essentially on the causes, symptoms and mode of spread of malaria and the need to avoid self-medication, adding that the organisation was committed to the empowerment of the poor and the vulnerable, using innovative approaches to provide financial, health and social services to stakeholders in a sustainable manner. The beneficiaries are enlightened on Insecticidal Treatment Nets (ITNs) including access promotion to ITN and free treatment.

Idowu-Osehobo said: “Malaria disease hurts the national economic development and household income. Malaria constitutes a huge epidemiologic burden in Africa and continues to cripple economic development in the region. Malaria remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria with an all year transmission and 97 per cent of the population at risk.

“Nigeria also accounts for 32 per cent of the global estimate of 655, 000 malaria deaths annually. Malaria victims are mostly pregnant women with their unborn babies and children below the age of five. The disease is responsible for 60 per cent outpatient visits to health facilities, which includes 30 per cent childhood death, 25 per cent of death in children under one year and 11 per cent maternal death in Nigeria,” she said.

The Executive Director said malaria was a major cause of increasing household poverty and slow pace of national development, adding that the financial loss due to malaria annually was estimated to be about N132 billion in the form of treatment costs, prevention and loss of man-hours etc.

Idowu-Osehobo said LAPO frowns at infant mortality and every death resulting from childbirth, which is traceable to malaria, adding that the activities of the organisation for malaria prevention were aimed at reducing the social-economic burden of the disease on individuals and members of their households.

She advised people with general body pain, bitter taste, fever, and weakness to see a doctor at the health centre for proper diagnosis and treatment. She said most people confuse malaria with other ailments and revealed that many illnesses have the same symptoms as malaria.

Speaking at the seminar to mark the World Malaria Day in Igbo-Elerin Community in Iba Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos state, Dr Adeola Obasanya listed several ways to prevent malaria such as proper cleaning of the environment; cutting of bushes/grasses, removing puddles, especially during the rainy season and clearing of blocked drainages.

The Baale of the community, HRH, Taofeeq Aina, who attended the event thanked LAPO for bringing the programme to his community and expressed the collective commitment of stakeholders to a malaria-free world.

Malaria is one of the most severe public health problems worldwide with Nigeria having the greatest number of cases in Africa and over 800,000 lives affected annually with pregnant women and children below the age of five mostly victims.

LAPO Curtails Lassa Fever Outbreak In Communities

In 2019, Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) intensified Lassa Fever awareness campaign in vulnerable communities across the country towards forestalling the further outbreak of the disease.

The community intervention programme was carried out in major markets and streets in Edo, Lagos, Oyo and Abuja, reaching over 10,321 persons including children.

The community members were enlightened on the causes, signs, symptoms and prevention of Lassa fever which includes keeping food safe in rodent-proof containers and keeping the home clean to discourage rodents from entering.

At Ekpoma in Edo State, LAPO Programme Officer, Miss Vivian Onuorah advised the people to make it a habit to cover their food, maintain good hygiene to prevent the disease and quickly rush to the hospital at the slightest suspicion of the disease.

Also speaking, Godwin Chiekwenesaid the objective of the campaign was to make the people conscious of the disease, as well as inform them of the preventive measures.
The LAPO officials enjoined the people to cultivate the habit of regular hand washing, eliminate rats from their homes and take the message to others.

The health awareness programme demonstrates the commitment of LAPO to the health and overall well-being of members of the public.

Lassa Fever: LAPO Advocates Preventive Measures

LAPO Health Manager, Dr Ayo Obadiora Honestushas advised residents of Esanland to take strict preventive measures against the dreaded Lassa fever pandemic.

Dr Obadiora said the advice stemmed from the endemic nature of the disease in Edo Central Senatorial District where many are dying from the disease.

The LAPO Health Manager gave the advice at Ubiaja, Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo state during a sensitisation rally and roadshow to create awareness on the dangers of Lassa fever.

He remarked that the main objective of the campaign was to make people aware of what to do to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

Dr Obadiora advised that since rats were responsible for the spread of the disease, the people most make it a habit to protect their food from getting infested by rats by keeping their food well covered in containers.

He urged them to practice continuous handwashing with soap and running water, among other measures.

He said, “The purpose of the campaign is to create awareness about Lassa fever to enable people to know the ways to prevent it especially in Edo Central where the disease is endemic.

“We have been to Ekpoma, Uromi and today we are in Ubiaja to create this awareness. We have also supported some organisations in Edo North to carry out similar awareness there” he said.
The Health Manager said LAPO was interested in the well-being of the people as ill-health re-enforces poverty.

LAPO Partners Foundation To Provide Free Cataract Surgery To 523 Patients

Over 523 patients in Benin City benefitted from free eye examination and conducted by the Eyeland of Vision Foundation in partnership with the Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO).

During the 4-day health outreach programme carried out at St. Teresa Specialist Eye Centre, Uselu between February 4th and 7th2019, 30 patients underwent successful cataract surgical operations.

In her welcome remarks, the Executive Director of LAPO, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo said the free eye care services were aimed at improving the quality of lives of beneficiaries whose major challenge has been the inhibiting cost of cataract surgery.

The LAPO Executive Director said blindness prevalence, according to the Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey conducted between 2005 and 2007, increase with age.
She observed that 5.5 and 9.3percent of Nigerians whose ages are greater than or equal to 50 and 60 years respectively were blind with rural dwellers more disadvantaged. She attributed this situation to poor quality medical care, including eye care.

In his remarks, Dr Bright Azeta, the programme manager of Eyeland of Vision Foundation said the Foundation focused on cataract because it causes about 50 per cent of blindness in human beings, adding patients discovered to have glaucoma and other eye-related diseases were counselled on steps to take to avoid degeneration into blindness.

Meanwhile, some of the beneficiaries of the free cataract surgery said they were unable to have the cataract surgery before now due to financial constraints.

Mr David Ekuaze, a 74-year-old trader stated that since the first surgery carried out on one of his eyes in 2013, he could not raise money for the second one.
In the same vein, Mrs Elizabeth Ukpebor, 70, and Mr Godday Oigbochie, 63, commended the organizers.

LAPO Provides Free Medical Outreach In Oyo State

The healthcare system in Nigeria has deteriorated since the last two decades. Inadequate government budget, poor infrastructure and supervision have almost crumbled the public health system. These challenges prompted the initiation of the LAPO Community Health Outreach in 2015 covering full medical compliments and surgery. Most of the communities that have benefitted from the LAPO Health Outreaches lack access to basic health facilities, adequate medical personnel, safe water and social amenities.

In June 2019, about 1,320 residents of Bashorun Community in Ibadan, Oyo State benefitted from the free healthcare screening and treatment programme of Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO).

The free medical outreach has no doubt significantly enhanced access of poor and vulnerable people to quality health services in rural areas, according to Sabina Idowu-Osehobo, the Executive Director.

She expressed concern that poor access to timely and quality healthcare has contributed to the poverty level in society, adding that rural residents often encounter barriers to healthcare.

Idowu-Osehobo said LAPO has over the years demonstrated an uncommon commitment to poverty alleviation through the implementation of social, health and economic empowerment programmes targeting disadvantaged groups.

She called on well-meaning Nigerians and other private organisations to partner with the government in providing timely and affordable healthcare services to rural residents, noting that “periodic free medical screening and treatment organised by LAPO is aimed at promoting easy access to quality and appropriate healthcare services in rural areas.

The Health Manager, Dr Ayo Obadiora, described the health outreach as a part of the efforts to discourage patronage of quacks and self-medication, noting that LAPO provides screening and treatment for various illnesses including skin infections, worm infestations, hypertension, diarrhoea, diabetes, stomach ulcer, spondylosis and arthritis, among others.

The Chief Medical Director in charge of Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in Ibadan North, Dr Monday Famakinwa, commended the gesture, saying it would make life better for the people. Famakinwa also applauded the organisation for bringing in qualified medical practitioners to deliver healthcare to the people.

LAPO Holds Free Medical Programme At Uzebba, Edo State

In April 2019, Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) organised a 2-day free Medical Programme for the inhabitants of Uzebba community and environs in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State.

The LAPO Community Health Outreach team that attended to the health needs of the people included gynaecologists, Peadriaticians, Dentists, Optometrists, among others. Cases such as malaria, high blood pressure, diabetes, diarrhoea, typhoid, dermatitis and others were attended to, just as dental care and dental surgeries, as well as eye check, were also handled.

The Executive Director of LAPO, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo said the free medical programme was LAPO’s way of bringing free health services to the people at the grassroots to boost their health and well-being.

She said LAPO brings medical consultants and health specialists to rural communities through the LAPO Community Health Outreach to deliver free and quality health care services similar to what is obtainable in tertiary teaching hospitals.

Idowu-Osehobo said, “when we do health outreaches in LAPO, it is not just bringing few doctors and nurses. We come with full complements of doctors. We give medications, carry out minor surgeries and do referrals when necessary. The whole essence is to ensure that the health of our people is safeguarded.”

The Chairman of Owan West Local Government Council of Edo State, Hon. Frank llaboya who flagged-off the exercise lauded LAPO for the gesture, describing it as a rare opportunity for the rural dwellers to improve their health conditions.

He expressed satisfaction with the team of doctors and other health professionals as well as the quality of drugs, and equally praised LAPO for the free medical glasses.

Hon llaboya said the free medical outreach was complimentary to the efforts being made by the Owan West Local Government Council to boost healthcare delivery in the area, adding that his administration was currently remodelling several Primary Health Centres and also ensuring constant availability of drugs.

AMAC Residents Benefit From LAPO Community Health Outreach

Towards improving the lives of the people of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), a non-governmental organisation, Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) has organised free community health outreach for both adult and children in the council.

Speaking during the flag-off of the second phase of the 2019 LAPO Community Health Outreach at GidanMangoro in AMAC, the Executive Director of LAPO, Sabina Idowu-Osehobosaid LAPO decided to bring health services closer to residents of GidanMangoro community.

Represented Dr Ayo Obadiora, she said LAPO brings medical consultants and health specialists to rural communities through the LAPO Community Health Outreach to administer quality health services obtainable in specialist or teaching hospitals.

The Executive Director stated that about14,232 persons have benefited from the community health outreach since its inception in 2015.

Also speaking, Dr Okoro Michael from the Mararaba Medical Centre assured that the community members would receive basic healthcare from the team of medical doctors during the programme and commended the management of LAPO for the kind gesture.

Stakeholders Should Prioritize Universal Access To Quality Health

A communiqué issued at the end of the 26th Annual LAPO Development Forum held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria on Tuesday, October 22nd 2019 with the theme “The Nigerian Healthcare Situation: Way Forward.”

The 26th Annual LAPO Development Forum of the Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO), a frontline development organization was organised to review the healthcare situation in Nigeria and chart the forward for the sector.

The Forum was chaired by Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and member of the Federal Government Economic Advisory Council. The keynote address was delivered by Professor Omokhoa Adeleye, a Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Benin (UNIBEN) and Consultant Public Health and Community Physician at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).

The Forum drew participants from the health and academic sectors, Professional Associations/trade unions, government agencies, civil society organisations, the private sector, development partners, media practitioners, religious bodies, women groups, policymakers, members of the public and other critical stakeholders in development.

Following exhaustive deliberations of the Keynote address by Professor Adeleye, the Forum came up with a 10-point communiqué as follows:

1. The Forum commended LAPO’s relentless contributions to improving the healthcare situation in Nigeria especially in the area of the community-based awareness campaign, free medical tests, referrals and collaboration with relevant health agencies at the grassroots. Specifically, it lauded the LAPO Community Campaign for Cancer Control (LAPO-C4) Project and the newly established LAPO Benin Medical Care facility in Edo State, Nigeria.

2. The Forum identified poor water and sanitary conditions, deplorable state of maternal and child health care system, the near absence of diagnostic services and weak institutional governance structures as some of the factors responsible for the increasing spate of preventable deaths and drain on national and personal resources in Nigeria. It, therefore, advocated for a synergy between governments at all levels, the organized private sector and non-state actors to address the current deplorable health situation in Nigeria.

3. The Forum noted that universal access to quality health is a major weapon against poverty in Nigeria and should, therefore, be prioritized by local and international stakeholders. It tasked Civil Society Organisations to go beyond health advocacy to serve as auditors on health care delivery expenditures to hold implementation agencies accountable on how health budget funds are managed in Nigeria.

4. The Forum called for an increase in healthcare budget that will guarantee adequate funding of critical health facilities at the grassroots, engagement of qualified health workers and other health-related matters. This, the Forum maintained, would encourage patronage of local health facilities thereby reducing medical tourism by the elites.

5. The Forum noted that individual lifestyles and superstitious beliefs have contributed to the poor healthcare situation in Nigeria. It, therefore, advocated for public enlightenment and mindset re-orientation amongst Nigerians to boost the patronage of orthodox health care system thereby preventing avoidable deaths.

6. The Forum averred that a differentiated and targeted response system is critical to designing health intervention programmes. Specifically, it emphasized the need to unpack the average health care statistics in Nigeria for the design of health care programmes that would benefit Nigerians.

7. The Forum advocated for a new curriculum on health care delivery in the Nigerian educational system, just as it stressed the need for media involvement in addressing drug abuse and promoting community health through radio and television programmes.

8. The Forum noted that the Social Health Insurance Scheme should be aggressively pursued to ensure adequate protection for the poor. It, therefore, charged healthcare institutions and practitioners at all levels to develop strategic, tactical and operational health care plans and funding mechanism with the proper follow-up to ensure implementation.

9. Participants called for a deliberate strategy to introduce smart technology into the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria, adding that the Science and Technology sector should collaborate with the health sector to develop and implement policies that will ensure the transfer of technology nationally. The education sector can be engaged to introduce training programmes along this line.

10. The Forum enjoined the masses to enforce the implementation of health policies and programmes that would improve the health conditions of the citizens, as well as hold government accountable for their actions and inactions.


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