The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Kwara State Chapter has conducted free medical screening on over 400 residents of Fufu, a small agrarian village consisting largely of farmers and headers, under the Ilorin South Local Government Area in Kwara State, North Central Nigeria.
Led by Pharm Juwon Otelaja, the initiative from the pharmacists was disclosed as part of the events commemorating the 2023 Pharmacy Week of the Kwara PSN.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, PSN, Kwara State, Otelaja explained that the medical outreach at Fufu includes checking for blood pressure and random blood sugar test.
According to him, during the health intervention, members recorded high blood pressure which is common among male and female from age 40 and above.
Otelaja further explained that majority of the villagers are aware they have high blood pressure but they are not regularly on medications, noting that some of them attributed their poor adherence to medication to economic reasons while others were wrongly informed to stop the medication after achieving control.
“Many of them do not know the dangers of uncontrolled bbood pressure and some of the villagers have sight defects which the outreach could not cater for,” he said.
Otelaja pointed out that other challenges these communities face are inadequate health education, especially on the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes.
According to him, although the community is small with a low-income level, said a pharmacy in the community could help bridge the gap in healthcare, especially in the availability of essential drugs.
He, however, urged the state government to improve the health facility by providing quality health personnel with the capacity to manage this range of health concerns adequately.
He also advocates public enlightenment on non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes and the provision of health insurance too which he said, will go a long way to improve the health of the community.
Otelaja also lamented the poor road network in the community, adding that pair of the access road will encourage well-meaning groups to do more outreach to the village.
He therefore appealed to stakeholders to also reach out to the community on medical outreach that will focus on eye care which will be of immense benefit to the community.
In her remarks, the Director of Pharmaceutical Services, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, (UITH), Dr Grace Medubi, said the society observed that the community have a shortage of health facilities and health personnel, while their Primary Health Care (PHC) centre is non-functional.
According to her, the community lack access to basic health and medical services in the rural area, adding that the medical outreach is an effort by PSN to bridge the gap in medical services for the residents of the community to prioritise their health.
Medubi stated that the PSN will look at ways to further improve the health of these communities by helping them to establish rural pharmacy premises.
According to her, the society hopes to reach out to appropriate authorities to rehabilitate and restore the Primary Health Care facilities in the communities stressing that all these will go a long way in closing the gap including, lack of health personnel, non-availability of essential drugs, health promotion and health education.
Also speaking at the free medical outreach, the Secretary of Kwara PSN, Pharm. Mrs Munirat Bello explained that Pharmacy Week is an Annual event to showcase how the society impacts Nigerian communities.
She added that over 400 people including children, adults and elderly people were attended to and received free drugs while the Deputy Director of Pharmacy UITH, Dr Joseph Ole, described some of the common diseases to include uncontrolled blood pressure, stomach ulcer, malaria, cough, urinary tract infection, diabetes mellitus and arthritis.
One of the beneficiaries being attended to by the Secretary, Kwara PSN, Pharm Mrs Munirat Bello
A cross-section of the Beneficiaries at the Free Medical Outreach