Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
No fewer than 2,500 people have benefited from the medical outreach of the Kwara State government.
The programme, according to THISDAY checks, was organised by the US- based Kwara State Association of Nigerians (KSANG) and Sakinah Medical Outreach in conjunction with the state government.
The free healthcare services, which cut across the three senatorial districts of the state came up recently at three different locations — Ajase Ipo, Tsaragi and Okelele primary healthcare centres.
The state Governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq disclosed this in Ilorin at the weekend during the flagging off of the statewide campaign to curtail malaria spread in the state.
The campaign, named Malaria-Free-Kwara, qualifies Kwarans to access free malaria treatments in the health centres near them in the state.
It is part of the Roll-Back-Malaria Partnership, a donor-funded programme which the state government has keyed into after the government had paid a sum of N232million counterpart fund.
Abdulrasaq who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Saba Jibril said, “the Malaria-Free-Kwara we are launching this morning is a product of that timely intervention, which is to complement the humanitarian efforts of the Roll-Back-Malaria Partnership.
“No serious government, especially in Nigeria, should trivialise the global campaign against malaria. In 2018 alone, Nigeria recorded 100 million malaria cases with at least 300,000 deaths resulting from such cases. Such shameful data contributed to our recurring low rating in global development indices.
“As I flag off the Malaria Free Kwara campaign for year 2019, I request all Kwarans and caregivers to visit the nearest health facility to access this service in the interest of everyone and overall well-being of our state.
“I assure you that our administration will continue to do everything possible to reposition the health sector in line with our campaign promises of making sure that quality healthcare services are available and obtainable by all and sundry so as to brighten our chances of achieving Universal Health Coverage.
“It is our belief that with the planned sustainability of this project, Kwara State will witness a significant decline in malaria cases, which would in turn boost our standing in developmental ratings”.
Lamenting that the anti-malaria campaign had been purely donor-driven since 2008 when it started, AbdulRazaq said the payment of the counterpart fund has qualified Kwara for such future interventions by donors in the global campaign against the deadly disease”.
He said, “I urge our religious and traditional leaders to support this project by giving their consent and creating awareness on the importance of these campaigns and its far-reaching effects on improving the health indices of the State. Let me make it clear that these interventions for eliminating malaria is “Free for all.
“One of the interventions we have made in the health sector was to pay N82m (out of the total N232million) counterpart funds to show commitment to be involved in the global anti-malaria campaign led by the Roll-Back-Malaria Partnership, a donors-driven initiative to stamp out the menace of malaria in the world, especially in our country Nigeria.”
KSANG President Dr. Yusuf Adelanwo said the gesture was aimed at complementing the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-government’s good intention to responding to the medical needs of Kwarans.
“Shortly after the elections, the governor came to US and we listened to his passionate agenda about improving the people’s access to healthcare services. We assured him of doing whatever we can to support his government. That is why we raised funds within ourselves and put up this programme,” Adelanwo said.
He expressed satisfaction about the turn-out of patients suffering from different ailments such as malaria, diabetes, hypertension, cataract and sickle cell in all the selected locations, adding that the project gulped about N20million for medications only, while the government provided the facilities to carry out the surgical aspect and other logistics.
“The surgical operation for at least 150 patients would be carried out at the General Hospital, Ilorin, and Sobi Specialist Hospital in the next two weeks’ time,” Adelanwo added.