Medical experts have tasked the federal and state governments to provide blood pressure measuring kits in work places and other locations to tackle the rising incidences of sudden death among Nigerians.
They gave the advice at the first annual lecture of the School of Health and Health Technology of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) in Ondo state.
A consultant cardiologist at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Professor Oluwadare Ogunlade, who spoke on the theme: “Demystifying Hypertension: The Silent Killer”, urged government at all levels to provide blood pressure measuring kits in schools, work places and other locations to afford citizens the opportunity to freely measure blood pressure to prevent debilitating ailment and death.
Explaining further, the medical expert said hypertension is a silent killer “because in many cases it presents without symptoms until it is about to destroy its victims.”
He said though blood pressure is important for the working of the body, when continuously raised it can damage vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, the brain and other internal organs which end up manifesting on the outer body parts in form of stroke and other deadly diseases.
Prof. Ogunlade emphasized the need for regular check of blood pressure which he noted could be done with the use of appropriate kits at home and in the offices and not only in hospitals.
The cardiologist disclosed that a number of factors including the depressed economy, insecurity, insatiable desire and stress could be responsible for the increase in hypertension cases.
He advised Nigerians to be conscious of risk factors such as sweet things, alcohol, salt, obesity and hereditary causes to put the silent killer which he described as manageable in check.
Delivering another lecture on “Transforming Nigeria’s Healthcare System through Technology: Prospects, Challenges and the Way Forward,” an Obstetric Gynaecologist and CMD, Skye Hospitals Limited, Thomas Wilson Ikubese, emphasized that increased government’s participation in healthcare coverage would be panacea for improved healthcare in Nigeria.
He noted that except there is a reformation of the National Health Insurance Scheme, State Private Health Insurance, creation of health trust fund for Universal healthcare and integration of adequate medical intelligence and surveillance systems, the current challenge of poor health would remain unsolved.
He also called for regular health campaign and awareness, harmony in the health sector enactment of appropriate law to safeguard universal health coverage and private health sector empowerment to strengthen the health sector in general.
Dr. Ikubese, who proposed the use of high power technology to upgrade the nation’s healthcare facilities, urged government to compel its officials and political office holders to receive care in Nigerian hospitals to aid the prompt and passionate development of the nation’s public health facilities with a view to curbing high child mortality, high maternal mortality, inadequate insurance coverage, inadequate medical surveillance and poor healthcare facilities especially in rural areas.
Aligning with the need to develop the nation’s healthcare facilities, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, decried untoward state of the health sector of the nation, attributing it to the state of the economy.
He called on government to put measures in place to promptly fix the health sector to improve medical services while assuring of his unalloyed support towards the course.
Addressing the gathering, FUTA’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, who was represented by the Dean, School of Earth and Mineral Sciences and Chair, Committee of Deans, Professor Pius Enikanselu, recalled that surveys have shown that more than 80% of deaths in developing countries are caused by non-communicable diseases and half of those deaths involve people in their productive years.
This, according to him, has taken its toll on the development of the economy.
He noted that FUTA as a pacesetter has taken initiative and gotten patents in research projects for the management of Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus and High Blood Pressure recently as part of activities to rebuild the nation’s healthcare system, stating the introduction and production of its Moringa, Ginger and Garlic breads aimed at preventing some of such diseases as examples.
The Dean of the School, Professor Ayotunde Adeagbo, said the purpose of the lectures was to enlighten the public about the effective management of hypertension and other non-communicable and chart a way forward for the reformation and improvement of the country’s health sector.
Major highlights of the event were the launch of the School’s magazine and the presentation of awards to the guest lecturers and individuals who have made major contributions to the nation particularly in the area of health care delivery and general wellbeing of the people.
The recipients were Senator (Professor) Ajayi Boroffice and Mrs. Betty Anyanwu–Akeredolu, first lady, Ondo State.