As part of coordinated initiatives to combat high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in the country, the Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC), an agency under the Delta State government, on Monday commissioned four Diabetes and Hypertension Clinics (DHC) across the state.
The flag-off ceremony, which held at the Obior Health Facility, Obior in the Aniocha North local government area of the state, also featured free public screening for diabetes and hypertension. The event saw a large turnout of people in attendance including the former State Deputy Governor, Chief Benjamin Elue; Board Chairman of DSCHC, Olorogun Dr Isaac Akpoveta; Chairman of Aniocja North LGA, Uche Oseme and the Obi of Obior Kingdom, HRM Kingsley Ugochukwu Ofuokwi JP.
The DHC initiative is a public-private partnership (PPP) between DSCHC and Sanofi, a global healthcare and biotechnology company focused on human health.
A DHC is a health facility and centre of excellence equipped to effectively manage cases of diabetes and hypertension at the primary level of care and to refer patients when necessary.
In Nigeria, gaps within the health systems affect people’s health seeking behaviours. Many people in underserved and hard-to-reach communities often have to travel long distances to access health facilities in nearest towns and cities.
The associated costs and inconvenience at times deter them from accessing healthcare early resulting in their conditions getting worse with complications of disease. The DHC initiative aims at bridging the gaps by bringing healthcare closer to these communities.
While explaining the rationale for the PPP, Dr Ben Nkechika, DG and CEO of DSCHC, said that the establishment of the clinics was in line with the state government’s resolve to provide quality healthcare to all Deltans.
He noted that cost of treatment represents a huge burden on the patients and that government decided to explore PPP options so that patients who require care are supported free of charge through the state’s contributory health scheme. “All you need to do is get enrolled in the state’s health insurance scheme and you will be treated free,” he said.
Earlier, while welcoming guests to the event, the board chairman, Akpoveta called on residents to patronise the centres in order to reduce the burden of hypertension and diabetes in the state. He disclosed that the state government through the commission is determined to provide quality healthcare to the people in the state, especially in the rural communities. He expressed joy that the goal is being fulfilled through the public private partnership with Sanofi on diabetes and hypertension.
The General Manager of Sanofi in Nigeria and Ghana, Pharm. Folake Odediran disclosed that the company’s partnership with the commission in establishing the centres of excellence was in line with its purpose to understand the healthcare needs of people in places it serves and to help in solving those needs.
Meanwhile, DSCHC and Sanofi have formally signed the contract for the implementation of the project. Odediran signed on behalf of the company while Akpoveta signed on behalf of the commission.