By Iyke Bede
With the recent commissioning of the Mowo Kekere Health Centre, residents of Mowo Kekere and its neighbouring communities in Ikorodu Local Government Area, are one step closer to accessing top-notch healthcare services in the locality.
On its commissioning day, members of the rural community came out in droves to assemble at the health centre early that morning, where they received free medical services.
These almost overwhelming numbers truly reflected the need to seek medical attention – a desire often mitigated by long distance between residents and already existing health centres. The propinquity of the Mowo Kekere Health Centre easily solves the problem of accessibility.
Stemming from a need to provide affordable healthcare in relation to proximity, the project commenced two years ago by Total Respite Foundation (TRF) to solve these issues plaguing the rural area.
The project was facilitated by former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abike Dabiri, who donated a lone building that was part of her constituency projects to hit the ground running. The health centre now boasts of three additional structures.
“Before we came here [Mowo Kekere], the entire place was covered in bush.” Board Member, TRF, Hemeson Edwin said explaining the level of transformation that has taken place.
“We only had the main building. All the other structures here were added by TRF. Everything you see here was done by TRF, and we are delighted that the community has accepted us for who we are and what we are here to do for them.”
TRF is one of the stakeholders in private-public health SME initiatives of Lagos State government. Through a broad range of seasoned medical professionals with senior level management in various aspects of healthcare that is comparable to professionals worldwide, the management of the health centre is guided by a well-designed template to provide high grade, value for money healthcare.
Speaking on the visions of TRF to provide affordable and accessible healthcare, CEO of TRF, Bolajoko Sogbesan explained the need to subsidise services to match the pockets of residents in the community, with special consideration for the elderly.
“What we’ve done is to bring private practice into public health centres. We have assured them that it would never be beyond what is been [charged] in public hospitals. In fact, it is a bit reduced because we want to give them quality healthcare at an affordable price.
“For the elderly we have subsidised any healthcare concerning them. For those in their seventies, it is completely subsidised, if not free,” she said.
With its launch, services offered to residents will include outpatient services, immunisation, ante and post-natal services, select surgical procedures, health education, et cetera.
However, due to limitations that come with the 12-bed facility, the management has mapped out an effective referral system to ensure that persons who require urgent medical attention beyond their current capacity, get the immediate medical response they need.
“The personnel working with me are specialised in different fields. There is a way we section them to know who to go to and how to go about things. That way we will be able to contain them [patients].”added Sogbesan.
Showing support for the initiative by TRF, Chairman, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, Prof. Akin Osibogun — represented by Dr. Mobolaji Obadeyi — lauded the project by projecting the important role primary healthcare centres like Mowo Kekere Health Centre plays.
“Primary healthcare is the touchpoint where effective healthcare reaches the smallest unit of our society through our health post, and comprehensive health centres, with the aim of providing cost effective healthcare that is affordable and accessible to individuals in all our communities.
“As a governing board, our mission is also to provide universal health coverage in all 329 health centres across Lagos State.”
In efforts to further subsidise healthcare services, attendees were also introduced to health insurance on the Lagos State Health Scheme that is currently manned by the Lagos State Health Management Agency(LASHMA).
With Mowo Kekere Health Centre as its pilot project, TRF plans to woo more private partners and the state government with its performance and impact to help drive the development of its other centres located in Imota LCDA (Ikorodu), Odomola (Epe), and Oriba (Epe) in the near future.