Government alone can’t fund healthcare, says expert
Speaking in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, during the 18th anniversary of OB Lulu-Briggs Foundation, a consultant gynaecologist with the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Dr. Rosemary Ogu, said with 200 million people amid lean financial resources, “there is no way the government alone can take care of the health needs of the populace.”
Ogu, who delivered a lecture on ‘Raising Awareness about Uterine Fibroids – Get Informed, Take Action’, said enormity of the nation’s healthcare needs encouraged UPTH to partner with the Foundation on the anniversary.
She told the gathering, which consisted of over 500 uterine fibroids patients, that the cause of the unwanted growth in the womb, which afflicts more than half of women, as yet unknown.
“Concerning the causes of fibroids, we don’t know. So many researches and studies have been carried out, but no one knows the causes. But we know there are genetic and hormonal factors,” she said.
According to the physician, uterine fibroid is more common among Africans, and it is better to have fibroids surgery here (Nigeria) “because more of the surgeries are done here.”
She confirmed concerns that fibroids could grow again in a woman’s womb after it had been removed.
“When you are successfully operated for fibroids and the womb is left empty by not getting pregnant, the fibroids can come back after three years,” Dr. Ogu said.
The Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman of OB Lulu-Briggs Foundation, Dr. Seinye Lulu-Briggs, had earlier said that she established the Foundation on September 21, 2001.
“I did so to honour, celebrate, structure and institutionalise the prolific giving of my husband, High Chief (Dr.) O.B. Lulu-Briggs, whose love and commitment to humanity shone through his charitable and philanthropic acts, that broadly categorised, equipped, empowered and enabled people, particularly the most vulnerable and under-served, to live full, purposeful and dignified lives,” she added.
Mrs. Lulu-Briggs, a pastor, who was represented at the ceremony by her spokesman, Oraye St. Franklin, noted that this year’s anniversary was the first after the demise of her husband who passed on last December 27.
She revealed that 100 women, who required the surgery but could not afford it, would undergo the procedure free of charge with the support of UPTH and Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
On why the Foundation decided to focus on fibroids this year, the Coordinator of Programmes, OBLulu-Briggs Foundation, Mrs. Ineba Tongkam, said, “The initiative of raising awareness about uterine fibroids came about as a result of the experience we encountered during the Foundation’s recent Free Medical Mission in Bakana, Rivers State, from May 20 to 24, 2019.”
The event took place at the La Sien Pavilion, 22, Forces Road, Port Harcourt.
The Foundation’s medical missions started out as Care for Life Quarterly Free Medical Week in Abonnema, Rivers State, in 2005.
Since then, 124,826 men, women and children in rural and semi-urban areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states have accessed quality healthcare and health education free of charge through it.
The Foundation has also responded to huge unmet demand for ophthalmic care across the Niger Delta by taking vision care clinics to communities to promote a good vision for all and help prevent conditions that routinely impair sight.
It promotes preventive health through awareness campaigns and picks the bills of specialised medical treatments for individuals from indigent families.