Poised to improve access to healthcare for the over 10,000 residents of Surulere Community in Agbado/Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Alimosho area of Lagos State, the Embassy of Japan (GGP) in collaboration with a Non-Governmental Organisation, Street To School Intiative, has commissioned the newly renovated Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) in Surulere East for residents usage.
The reopening of the primary healthcare facility, which was massively graced by political, traditional, and healthcare leaders in the community, had in attendance the Ambassador of Japan in Nigeria, Mr Takayuki Shinozowa and his team members; Mrs Tosin Taiwo, founder, Street to School Initiative; Dr Eniola Erinosho, representative of chairman, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board; Chairman of Agbado/Oke-Odo, Dr Arogundade Augustine; Baale of Oke Abiye Community, Nojeem Ajolojuota; Dr Yewande Adesina, consular to the Japanese Government for Lagos State; nurses, and other members of Surulere East community.
It was revealed that the Surulere East PHC was abandoned some years back due to lack of infrastructures and poor staffing, as doctors and nurses were unavailable to attend to patients in the facility. Sequel to the traumatic experiences of the Surulere East community people, who had to travel some kilometres to get to the nearest PHC, the Japanese Embassy through the advocacy of Street to School Initiative, came to their rescue.
Addressing the audience at the occasion, the Japan Ambassador in Nigeria, Shinozowa expressed his gratitude to the people of Nigeria, and the implementing partner for giving his country the opportunity to improve the healthcare system of Nigeria, noting that Japan over the years has built and maintained a consistent partnership with the Nigeria Government in improving and strengthening the healthcare sector.
He mentioned some previous projects funded by the Japanese Government in Nigeria to include: Polio eradication project; Non-project grant aid for provision of Japanese SME’s products in 2014; Project for strengthening pro-poor community health services in Lagos State in 2016; Delivery of 43 ambulances to the Federal Ministry of Health and others.
The Japanese Ambassador emphasised the place of viable PHCs in the country, saying that it is the foundation of healthcare delivery system, and if all PHCs are effective and accessible, then most problems that would lead one to secondary healthcare institutions would be non-existent.
“It is in recognition of this fact and considering the huge impact this project will have in this community and the neighbouring communities that my government decided to undertake it. This project is aimed at bringing inclusive basic healthcare to everyone in this community and neighbouring communities.
“By renovating this facility and providing a water purification system, solar power system, office furniture, hospital equipment and more, about 10,000 people from this community and the neighbouring communities are expected to benefit for this intervention project”, he explained.
Speaking on behalf of the Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr Erinosho, described the project as a valuable one which will assist the Lagos State government in achieving the health components of SDGs. He therefore gave an express directive to the health officers in the community to ensure the inclusion of the PHC in the list of effective PHC system in the state within the next two weeks.
Erinosho highlighted some of the services to be enjoyed free of charge at the newly renovated PHC to include delivery, birth registration and issuance of birth certificate, while he urged the people not to hesitate in reporting any abnormal development they notice in the PHC to the appropriate quarters for immediate intervention.
For the founder, Street to School Initiative, Mrs Taiwo, the project was borne out of her passion to see every mother and child access healthcare services without itches, as she has lost a pupil of her tuition-free-elementary-school, whose parents could not afford private healthcare service to the cold hands of death.
She also lamented the avoidable death of a mother to a sponsored child in her school, due to inaccessibility to healthcare. ”On 20 February 2018, another sponsored child lost his mum, because she could not access healthcare in good time, and when she eventually did, there were no available beds in the hospital where mama was transferred to, thus mama returned home and died the next day”.
Taiwo noted that the importance of accessibility to quality healthcare in rural communities cannot be overemphasised, as a sick child cannot learn well in school, thus it is critical to good health.” No child deserves to die like little Mary, because they cannot access healthcare.
Stating that the renovation and equipping of Surulere East PHC was the second GGP funded project to be implemented on a row after Ikola PHC in 2018, Taiwo expressed her profound gratitude to the Japanese Embassy for their swift intervention, noting that it is a rare privilege which is not taken for granted.
She however charged the audience at the occasion on the development of Nigeria, which she said is a collective responsibility in all sectors. “It is not a job for one, it is a responsibility for all. If we must grow as a nation we must join hands actively, not passively”, she quipped.
Chairman of Agbado/Oke-Odo, Dr Arogundade Augustine, while appreciating the Japanese government for their investment in healthcare of the community, assured them of the optimum use of the health facility to the benefit of residents in the area. He however cautioned the people to desist from any act of vandalising that will render public properties useless.” This project is ours and should be well utilised”, he warned.