NIPR Applauds Lagos State Healthcare Initiative 

Yemisi Izuora

The annual Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders’ Conference has recorgnised the contributions Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to healthcare in Lagos State as part of the activities marking the eight edition of conference.

The award was received by the Lagos State commissioner for health, Prof Akin Abayomi on behalf of the governor.

Corporate organisations recorgnised at the event include; TotalEnergies EP Nigeria Limited, Zenith Bank Nigeria Plc, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Leadway Health and Silverbird Communication.

Addressing the audience at the MUSON Centre, Onikan Lagos, the commissioner assured that the state government is committed to providing the needed infrastructure to achieve sustainable healthcare in Lagos State.

Speaking on healthcare and wellness, he explained that, “You are only as healthy as the food you eat and the environment you live in.” Adding that, Health is not just a matter of wellbeing; health is a matter of national security, a matter of economic.

He added that the government is committed to radical redirection of the health infrastructure in the State. He explained that, “Brain gain will be given attention, by providing facility for medical specialization; the state is providing modern intervention for cancer and kidney diseases among others. We will attract our medical practitioners from outside the country. We will do more to protect our medical data; we will promote indigenous knowledge system. We must do all to not destroy or ecosystem.

The guest lecturer at the event, Chief Research Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Dr Aina Oluwagbemiga explained that one of the core solutions to implementation challenges of healthcare in Nigeria is policy communication.

He spoke on the need to give special attention to the health sector, underlining the need for public and private participation.

According to him, research institutions should be given the needed fund. He highlighted some of the requirements to include “There should be adequate funding for federal / state universities and research institutions; giving incentives to health workers will motivate them to do more; retraining our health workers on human relations; there should be the political will on the side of government to ensure sustainable healthcare in the country.”

On health insurance in the country he noted that, “recent report shows that since the launch of the NHIS, only 5 per cent of Nigerians have health insurance and 70% still finance their healthcare through Out-Of-Pocket expenditure”.

He added that “Policy communication strategies such as public health announcement is critical to addressing health emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic or a natural disaster”.

On his part, the President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Mallam Muktar Sirajo observed that the theme for the conference is timely. He noted that “As Public Relations professionals, we are expected to lead the debate to reawaken national consciousness.

He added that the Institute is committed to continuous engagements to deepen stakeholders’ appreciation for the practice.

The chairman, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Lagos Chapter, Mrs Comfort Nwankwo praised the progress that has been achieved in the past 8 years of the conference. She commended the partnership with Addefort Limited over the period and the continuous support of corporate organizations, government and other stakeholders.

“Without our corporate partners we will not be able to put this event together, we appreciate your continuous support over the years” she said.

Speaking on the conference, the convener, CEO Addefort Limited, Mr Olabamiji Adeleye commended all stakeholders and explained the progress that has been in the last eight years of the annual event.

According to him, “The Annual Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders’ Conference, now in its 8th edition has been consistent towards the actualization of its set vision of promoting the social- economic development of the nation; it has evolved over the past eight years to become a bridge-building talker-shop for stakeholders to interact, discuss and proffer solutions to the social, political and economic challenges plaguing our nation.”

“The idea is that Public Relations must set the agenda on the way forward to achieve our collective goals and aspirations.”

“The theme for this year, “Policy Communication for Sustainable Healthcare and Wellness in Nigeria” is not totally an outcome of the pandemic, but a deliberate effort to address the issue of Healthcare in the country, and to fashion a way forward.”

“It is premised on the need to promote sustainable healthcare and wellness; this was given special focus in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Envision2030, due to its strategic importance to human sustainability”.

“You will agree with me that among others obvious challenges, evidence from the recent pandemic has further shown that much still need to be done by government, corporate organizations and individuals to achieve sustainable healthcare and wellness in the country. This is why we are here today.”

Other speakers at the event include; Executive Secretary MTN Nigeria Foundation, Mrs  Odunayo Sanya; Country Communication Manager, Total Energies, Dr. Charles Ebereonwu; Founder/CEO, Trinity Healthcare Foundation, Dr. Nseabasi Ekanem; Head of Operation, Leadway Health, Dr. Gideon Anumba.

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