Moving to reduce burden of hypertension, diabetes in Lagos
*NGO screens, administer drugs to over 1000 residents, market women, others
As part of efforts to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases in Nigeria, over 1000 residents of Lagos Island and market women were screened of hypertension and diabetes, as well as given drugs and referrals to primary health centres to get immediate treatment.
A non-governmental organisation, Amal Outreach, organised a four-day community free medical screening on hypertension and blood sugar/diabetes among residents of Lagos Island west, which include: Oke-Arin; Olowogbowo; Apongbon and Balogun axis.
The Co-founder, Amal Outreach, Dr. Folake Lawal, explained that hypertension and diabetes are silent killers and are the top most common non-communicable diseases in the world.
Lawal who is also an infectious disease specialist, explained that the free medical outreach is in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three, which is to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being.”
She said the organisation, as part of its corporate social responsibility, not only screened the community for hypertension and diabetes, but also dispensed medication, provide linkage to care at Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and local private clinics, provide follow up kit and post health fair community support.
“It is estimated that three out of every 10 Nigerians have hypertension, while one of every 10 has diabetes mellitus. These diseases when uncontrolled lead to complications such as kidney failure, heart disease, strokes sometimes leading to crippling expenses, lost wages and productivity to patients and their family.
“Primary health care should serve as a foundation for prevention, early diagnosis and management; however, these services are underutilised all over the country. We hope/believe that community interventions such as ours, hold great promise in reducing the burden of diseases in the chosen communities,” she added.
One of the medical practitioners who attended to the market women, Dr. Kofoworola Sadiq, from the Paediatric Department, Mother and Child Centre, Eti Osa, Lagos, noted that majority of the people screened have high blood pressure, as some are in a pre-hypertensive state, in which if neglected, could develop severe complications.
She said while about 90 percent of the people screened have high blood pressure, few have severe diabetic condition that require urgent admission in the hospital to avoid any grave complications.
“About 90 percent of them have high blood pressure, just few of them have diabetes. The unfortunate thing is that the few that have diabetes, the values are quite outrageous. If it were to be in a proper hospital setting, we would have admitted some of them,” she said.
Sadiq explained that from the discussion had with those that tested positive to hypertension and diabetes, the causes of the two non-communicable disease are: “Stress, family history, poor living conditions, poor lifestyle, lack of exercise, bad eating habit, poor drug noncompliance”, adding that most people, when given medication to regulate their health, use it just once and then stop taking the drugs once they no longer feel the symptoms of the ailment.