Cross section of staffs and Health Practitioners
Worried by the increasing cases of sudden death among Nigerians, authorities of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, last week assembled specialists in medicine who tutored the staff and students of the institution on various ways of staying healthy.
The medical experts, who were drawn from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi and National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, also conducted free medical examination for the staff and students of the polytechnic.
The Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Francisca Nwafulugo attributed the increasing sudden death in Nigeria to lack of awareness on health issues, advising that people should take their health care very serious. Nwafulugo regretted that the institution recently buried some staff and students, who were on active service, adding that the development made it necessary to mount the health exercise to educate the people on the need to examine themselves at regular intervals.
She said: “This sensitization programme is apt and timely, especially with the high rate of sudden death in the country. I thank the medical director of Oko Polytechnic for organizing this health sensitization campaign because over the years, people including our staff, had neglected their health status presuming that all is well. This is why a person who feels he is hale and hearty would in the next few minutes slump and die.
“Things are getting more difficult in the country by the day, with the stress level rising to the highest. Many people are facing crises at home and even in their offices, resulting to high blood pressure.
“The essence of this sensitization, therefore, is to get people to take their health related matters very serious and ensure a routine check on their health. People perish for lack of knowledge and many people have died because of ignorance of their health status. There are deaths which could be prevented if the health status of the person is known and adequate medication taken.”
She observed that the Federal Polytechnic, Oko had the best furnished medical center among tertiary institutions, adding that the facility was also open to the public and available for emergency situations.
A consultant Cardiologist at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Dr. Obichukwu Mathew emphasized on the need for routine medical check-ups to keep track of health challenges and identify potential problems at an early stage. According to him, Nigerians should realize that it is the living that works and earns a decent living, regretting that many people neglect their health only for their families to lose them to sudden death.
Obichukwu who spoke on the topic; ‘Management of Hypertension” observed that contrary to the belief in some quarters, hypertension is not caused by witches and wizards, but by individual attitudes and eating habits.
He explained that hypertension occurs when one’s blood pressure rises above 140/90, but could be managed by regular exercises, stress reduction, regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure, eating healthy diet and avoidance of excessive alcohol, as well as quitting smoking.
Dr Chibuzo Anene, a staff of the polytechnic’s medical center identified depression, poor judgment and inability to concentrate, as early signs of stress, explaining, however, that such issues could be well be managed through medication, behavioral approaches, massage and cognitive therapy, as well as heeding to God’s words in the scripture for spiritual management of stress.
He advised workers and students of the polytechnic to identify sources of stress in their lives and practice the four ‘A’s of stress management which according to him, include avoidance of the situation or element, altering the situation, adapting to the stress and accepting the things they cannot change.
The Anambra State coordinator of NHIS, Mrs. Helen Onuorah in her remarks, called on workers to disabuse their minds from the insinuations that the scheme does not work and narrated how the scheme had intervened in many critical matters involving enrollees in the state.
She also described as untrue the insinuation that the scheme carters for only malaria related health issues, saying they also provide pharmaceutical services, maternity services, ophthalmology and dental care services and follows surgical procedure as the scheme refers enrollees to different levels of care or consultancy services.
The scheme, according to Onuorah, provides free medical services; sugar level and blood pressure checks and gives medical advice on family planning, epidemics, occupational hazards/industrial injuries or injuries resulting from natural disaster.
The director of medical services of the polytechnic, Dr. Ifeoma Monago said high blood pressure and stress were major medical conditions that had contributed to the morbidity and mortality among Nigerians, hoping that the health care exercise mounted by the polytechnic would no doubt, provide accurate and up to date information of the prevailing health challenges among the staff.
She said the exercise would also offer useful advice geared towards prevention and management of health challenges from the health professionals. “The sensitization exercise and interaction will help us to clear all grey areas concerning the operational guidelines of the scheme” she said.