LAPO Holds AGM, Empowers 1.2m Nigerians With Health, Social Services
LAPO Holds AGM, Empowers 1.2m Nigerians With Health, Social Services
Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) improved the conditions of 1.2 million vulnerable community members with her innovative socio-economic and health services across the country in 2019.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, Dr Osarenren Emokpae stated this at the organization’s 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Benin City to review the financial year ended 31st. December 2019.
A breakdown of the empowerment services indicates that 274,929 persons were reached with direct services in target communities while 976,368 members of the public were enlightened through information, education and communication materials.
Similarly, the financial subsidiary of the organization, LAPO Rural Development Initiative (LARDI) supported 129,637 rural farmers with the sum of 10.9 billion during the period under review which represents 49% increase over the sum of 7.3 billion disbursed in 2018.
Dr Emokpae said the organization has been pushing the developmental agenda in Nigeria and playing a leading role in addressing poverty, hunger and disease in Nigeria through innovative measures aimed at removing financial barriers to sustainable livelihood and preventing access to health care services.
The Board Chairman said the sterling achievements of LAPO would be incomplete without acknowledging the Benin Medical Care (BMC) and Diagnostics Centre, which was commissioned in 2019 to provide excellent medical services through cutting edge technology and patient-centric approaches obtainable in developed countries of the world.
Dr Emokpae said social and health empowerment constitutes a fundamental part of LAPO’s poverty alleviation programmes in Nigeria where households and individuals bear the burden of a dysfunctional and inequitable health system with “high poverty reflecting rising lack of sustainable means of income estimated at 23.1% in 2018 up from 14.2% in 2016.”
He hinted that LAPO will streamline and refocus its development programmes in year 2020 towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1, 3 and 6 on poverty reduction, improved health and safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) respectively.
The Board Chairman said the organization would continue to deepen its services in target communities through the involvement of Community-Based Organisations in programme implementation, and appreciated partners for supporting the LAPO dream of a poverty-free world.
Chairman, Board of Directors’ Statement
LAPO Remains Committed to Poverty Alleviation and Improved Health Services
Distinguished Board Members, esteemed partners, ladies and gentlemen, I am extremely delighted to share with you our remarkable performance and impact in the lives of our beneficiaries in the 2019 financial year.
Socio-Economic and Health Performance and Outlook
Since 2015, Nigeria’s economic growth has remained stagnant. According to African Development Bank (2020), growth averaged 1.9% in 2018 and remained stable at 2% in the first half of 2019. Poverty remained widespread. The poverty rate in over half of Nigeria’s 36 states was above the national average of 69%. High poverty reflects rising lack of sustainable means of income estimated at 23.1% in 2018 up from 14.2% in 2016. The effort to lower inflation to the 6%–9% range faced structural and macroeconomic constraints, including rising food prices and arrear payments, resulting in a rate estimated at 11.3% for 2019.
The poor economic situation is reflected on the national health services and access. In Nigeria, the quality of primary health care (PHC) services is poor, and this remains a huge source of concern. Households and individuals in Nigeria bear the burden of a dysfunctional and inequitable health system – delaying or not seeking health care and having to pay out of pocket for health care services that are not affordable. This poor healthcare situation is linked to the current Nigeria’s poor health indices which ranked among the worst, globally. For example, World Health Statistics reported that under-5 mortality rate for Nigeria was 117.2 deaths per thousand live births while maternal mortality ratio remains above 800 per 100,000 live births. Likewise in 2018 alone, WHO noted that 70,327 (60.7%) death occurred out of the 115,950 persons with preventable cancers cases in Nigeria. LAPO will continue to commit its resources towards addressing some of these socio-economic and health challenges facing the poor and other vulnerable groups in the country.
2019 Institutional Performance
The fundamental purpose and mandate of LAPO is poverty alleviation. Since 1987, the organization has been pushing the developmental agenda in Nigeria and playing a leading role in the efforts to address poverty, hunger and disease in Nigeria through innovative measures aimed at removing financial barriers to sustainable livelihood and preventing access to health care services.
In 2019, we implemented various innovative socio-economic and health empowerment programmes with significant impact on beneficiaries in rural and urban communities. We reached 76,244 persons with our social development programme, which encompasses gender empowerment, micro-business management, financial literacy and free legal aid. A total of 612,981 members of our target communities also benefited from LAPO health services including free medical treatment in rural communities, cancer screening and health sensitisation across Lagos, Edo, Rivers, Imo and the FCT – Abuja. Similarly, over 129,637 rural farmers were supported with the sum of N10.9 billion to expand their agricultural businesses during the year under review by the LAPO Rural Development Initiative (LARDI). Also, 976,368 general populations were provided with information through the distribution of printed enlightenment materials and aired programmes on electronic media during the year under review.
Our sterling achievements during the year are incomplete without acknowledging the commissioning of the Benin Medical Care (BMC) and Diagnostics Centre. The BMC is the latest addition to the LAPO Group of vibrant autonomous institutions addressing myriads of socio-economic and health challenges confronting the poor and other vulnerable groups across the country.
Governance and Partnership
The Board played a strategic role in the achievement of our organizational goals through policy formulation, guidance and direction. Linkages were developed with stakeholders while collaborations with key government agencies and organisations were strengthened to facilitate the successful implementation of our community-driven programmes. The Board is currently reviewing the company’s strategic plan in the light of the challenges facing the world as a result of COVID19. This is intended to make the company more resilient in dealing with adversity and taking advantage of the opportunities presented to make a difference in the lives of people.
In 2020, we will streamline and refocus our development programmes towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 1, 3 and 6 on poverty reduction, improved health and safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) respectively. We shall continue to partner with CBOs and other groups to deepen our services in target communities as their involvement in programme implementation has been effective and commendable. Finally, we appreciate our friends and partners for supporting and sharing our dream of a poverty-free world
Osaren Emokpae, PhD, DBA
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