Healthcare service in Nigeria have been and is still very poor. The coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme is still below 5% and most people covered that make up this 5% are workers in paid employment where a direct deduction from their wages is made into the pool. The larger uncovered population is mostly the unemployed who live in the rural and underprivileged areas.
Basic healthcare services are also lacking because primary health care facilities are short of the minimum healthcare package stipulated by the National Primary Healthcare Agency. Where Private clinics are available, they are not affordable, since about 70% of Nigerians live below $1/day.
Given that over 65% of Nigerians live in rural areas, it is easy to understand why most Nigerians do not have physical and financial access to basic healthcare services.
With this dismal state of healthcare across the country, it seems the fate of the most vulnerable, often times forgotten people in our local communities where healthcare is concerned is quite dire.
That is the motivation behind The Shonowo Hospital Foundation’s free surgery program. For two years running, Shonowo Hospital has self-funded free hernia removal surgeries for underserved communities in Lagos state. In 2016, one hundred hernia patients in benefitted from free surgery program, while in 2017, over 200 patients with hernias, lipomas and fibroids were operated on for free. Patients are screened and selected from some of the most populated local communities and are treated at no charge. This December, over 100 hernia patients in Orile Agege and Alimosho local government area have been screened and scheduled to be operated for free.
The mission of the foundation is to establish long-term healthcare and social welfare relationship with the community.
Recently, Shonowo Hospital Foundation, launched a community health education program to support Traditional Birth Attendants by providing free birthing kits and free treated mosquito nets for pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Speaking the the event, the Medical Director of Shonowo Hospital, Dr Samson Shonowo, said “the continued sensitization of healthcare providers, women and their families about basic health care practices is important to achieve a healthy community.”
Dr. Samson Shonowo says “while Shonowo Hospital has taken on the challenge of providing regular free healthcare and surgical services to low income communities, government needs to step up to their responsibility and create healthcare policies that are sustainable and put primary health care at the center of its plan”.
The Shonowo Hospital Free Hernia Surgery program will last throughout December.
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