Welcome Address Presented By The Executive Director Of Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), Sabina Idowu-Osehobo At The 2017 LAPO Community Health Outreaches Organized In Egba And Oregbeni Communities, Ikpoba-Okha L.G.A, Edo State.

The Acting Chairman, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Council and his Executive

The Director of Medical Services, Edo State

Head of Departments and Agencies

The Enogie of Egba and Odionwere of Oregbeni Communities

Community Chiefs, Elders and Youth Associations

Religious Leaders and other invited guests

Gentlemen of the Press

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am delighted to welcome you all to the flag-off of the free medical outreach programme organised by Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) in Egba and Oregbeni Communities, Ikpoba-Okha L.G.A, Edo State.

LAPOis a leading non-governmental organization that is committed to the social, health and economic empowerment of the poor and the vulnerable across the country. The organization was founded by Dr. Godwin Eseiwi Ehigiamusoe in 1987 while working as a Rural Cooperative Officer in Ogwashi-Uku in the defunct Bendel State. Over the years, the organisation has demonstrated uncommon commitment to poverty alleviation through the implementation of innovative credit and non-credit empowerment programmes targeting disadvantaged groups. LAPO programmes include gender sensitization aimed at reducing the level of gender inequity, social exclusion and health intervention, which include prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other tropical diseases.

 

LAPO strongly believes that poverty is further reinforced by ill-health. We also believe that poor rural dwellers, women and children are more affected and disadvantaged. It has been established that Nigeria’s health indicators have either stagnated or worsened during the past decade. Life expectancy of 54.5 years is below the African average of 60. 20% mortality of under-5 children is unacceptable. Under-5 mortality of about one million Nigerian children is mostly due to poor neo-natal, antenatal and post-natal care followed by high prevalence of malaria, diarrhoeal and pneumonia. Also, maternal mortality is recently put at over 600 per 100,000 live births due to poor access to skilled birth attendants.

 

Low government spending combined with weak institutions and inadequate supervision lead to inadequate primary health care infrastructure with consequent poor healthcare service delivery. Mostly affected are those in rural communities where many health facilities lack access to clean water and electricity with shortages of medical equipment and dearth of necessary medications to treat patients. The situation is further complicated by inadequate health professionals in these communities, resulting in poor access to health services for the rural dwellers who tend to bear a greater disease burden. A combination of these issues necessitated the LAPO Community Health Outreaches which bring medical consultants and specialist doctors to target communities to deliver quality health care services obtainable in tertiary teaching hospitals freely to beneficiaries.

 

From inception, LAPO has been involved in community health improvement and playing a major role in addressing the challenges of malaria, maternal and child health issues. LAPO deployed innovative prevention, management and support approaches in the fight against HIV/AIDS particularly in rural communities across the country. In 2012, LAPO screened 135 women for cervical cancer at the Sapele Road Primary Health Centre, Benin City, in collaboration with the Edo State Cervical Cancer Programme while 113 other women were screened the same year at the Central Primary Health Centre at Ekpoma, Edo State. 18 of the beneficiaries who were diagnosed with the Human Papillona Virus (HPV), a predisposing condition for developing cervical cancer were freely treated. Between 2015 and 2016, LAPO improved the health conditions of over 500,000 community members, most of whom are clients of LAPO Microfinance Bank across Nigeria, with health services including screening for malaria, HIV, Hepatitis, Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure. Those diagnosed with various health conditions were referred to health centres with proper followed ups. Over 1.2 million persons were supported with health awareness programmes in year 2016 alone. Between October 2015 and December 2016, a total of 3,875 persons benefitted from our Community Health Outreach (CHO) programme in various communities in Edo State covering full medical compliments and surgery. 

 

The organization is currently implementing a massive cancer awareness programme tagged the LAPO Community Campaign for Cancer Control (LAPO-C4) in Lagos, Rivers, Edo, Imo and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja in partnership with 13 Community-Based Organizations. The focus is awareness creation, prevention and early detection.

 

 

The 6th and 7th editions of the LAPO Community Health Outreaches at Egba, Oregbeni and surrounding communities are aimed at improving the lives of beneficiaries across Ikpba-Okha LGA. We appreciate the support and partnership of Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Council, which made this programme possible. This shows that the Local Government recognizes and appreciates services that will improve the health conditions of the residents.

 

In conclusion, we would like to specially thank the medical personnel who have left the comfort of their hospitals, clinics and homes to provide health services for our people. You are here because you share in our mission of taking quality healthcare services to vulnerable and neglected people in the communities.

 

Our gratitude goes to Dr. M. l. Obasogie, the Primary Health Care Coordinator of the Local Government and his team, the Egba Community Chairman, Pastor Blessed O. Ighiwi JP, and other critical stakeholders for their assistance.

 

Our special appreciation goes to His Highness, the Enogie of Egba, the Odionwere of Oregbeni Community, chiefs, elders, youths of the host communities and the entire population who have ensured that this health outreach is a huge success.

 

Once again, I appreciate your presence and goodwill for LAPO.

 

Thank you and God Bless.

 

Sabina Idowu-Osehobo

Executive Director

Lift Above Poverty Organization

March 15, 2017