In commemoration of World Hepatitis Day, held annually on July 28 to raise awareness about Hepatitis, the Habeeb Okunola Foundation, a non-governmental organization committed to the health and wellbeing of those at the grassroots, offered free medical screening, diagnosis, and treatment for over 2000 residents of Iwaya Community in Lagos State.
Residents who thronged in large numbers to benefit from the free medical outreach were screened and treated for diseases prevalent in Nigeria, including Hepatitis, HIV, Malaria, High blood pressure, Diabetes, amongst others.
A representative of the organization, Solomon Adetokunbo, who is also the Program Manager of the foundation, said that the event was borne out of the need to complement the government’s effort in providing better healthcare at the grassroots by identifying these diseases at an early stage and treating them before complications arise.
He further stated that Hepatitis infection should not be seen as a death sentence anymore.
“Treatment for the virus should be embraced by those who are infected. They can still go to work and live their lives normally during the two to three months of treatment,” he said.
Adetokunbo also lauded the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners in Nigeria for raising national awareness of the disease.
The Founder and Executive Director of the NGO, Habeeb Okunola, urged corporate organizations and governments at all levels to match their commitment with actionable investments in addressing issues related to healthcare in Nigeria as a way of moving the country up from the bottom position of 140 out of 195 in the global healthcare index.
A beneficiary, Alhaja Titilayo Mogaji, who was diagnosed with malaria as well as hypertension and was given free drugs, expressed gratitude to the Foundation for providing the opportunity to get tested and treated and prayed that God continues to support the foundation to enable it to offer more services to the less privileged.
World Hepatitis Day is commemorated every year on July 28 to raise awareness about Hepatitis. The theme for this year, as set by WHO, is “Test. Treat. Hepatitis,” to enjoin global partners to support the call for an urgent increase in testing and treatment services to reduce 1.34 million lives lost to hepatitis B and C.