By Hassan Zaggi
President Muhammadu Buhari has formally launched an initiative – Integrated Medical Outreach Programme (I-MOP), aimed at providing free medical services to vulnerable Nigerians.
While launching the I-MOP initiative in Abuja on Monday, the President said that it is targeted at providing free primary healthcare services such as immunization, treatment of minor ailments, health talks, counseling services, screening for non-communicable diseases and general medical consultations to Nigerians.
Three rounds of the I-MOP will be implemented in 409 lowest performing LGAs and medical outreaches in each of the 109 Senatorial Districts across the 36 states and FCT between March and June 2020.
He, however, disclosed that in the next few months, the federal government will introduce Rotavirus and Human Papilloma virus vaccine into the national immunization schedule.
Represented by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the President reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to maintain its policy of providing free immunization services to all against all Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs).
“So this attempt to take basic healthcare services, health education, basic surgeries and screening for diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, tuberculosis, HIV aids and cancer to these under served areas is an eminently sensible and practical plan.
“Not only does it provide free health services to communities that had never in the past enjoyed those services but it also provides our public health institutions with invaluable disease identification opportunities and outreach lessons.
“So today here in Bwari we will flag-off the conduct of the first round of the I-MOP for the unreached, under-served and vulnerable communities in 409 selected LGAs in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” the President noted.
While reiterating the determination of the federal government to ensure that no Nigerian child remains without access to vaccination, the President said: “We would ensure in the next couple of months, that Rotavirus and Human Papilloma virus vaccines are introduced into the national immunization schedule to prevent childhood diarrhoea diseases and reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in women respectively.
“It is the firm commitment of the Federal government that no child or individual should be without access to life-saving vaccines and primary health care services.
“We would ensure in the next couple of months, that Rotavirus and Human Papilloma virus vaccines are introduced into the national immunization schedule to prevent childhood diarrhoea diseases and reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in women respectively.”
Speaking, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, noted that the I-MOP is an opportunity for government to fulfill its promise of delivering the dividends of democracy, justice and equity to all Nigerians.
“While we have made gains in closing the obvious gaps in immunization and primary healthcare delivery, we still have a long way to go, if we are to achieve our vision and aspiration in a country where basic but quality health services will be accessible and affordable, where people live and work.
“While we continue to make progress towards strengthening the health system, opportunities like the I-MOP provide unique platforms for the health system to bridge the gaps and make sure no one is left behind in the journey towards Universal Health Coverage,” Shuaib said.
He, therefore, urged all parents and guardians to seize the opportunity and benefit from the exercise which will commence on March 23.