Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRasak of Kwara says his administration is fully committed to the development of health facilities for effective healthcare delivery to people in the state.
AbdulRasak made the commitment on Wednesday at the inauguration of Oke-Igbala Leprosy Settlement in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area.
Represented at the inauguration by Prof. Wale Sulaiman, his Special Adviser on Health, said, “health is paramount and must not be taken with levity.’’
The governor urged well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations to assist the state government in its efforts to make life worth living for the people.
He said that the state government could not afford to rely on the international community to do everything for the people.
Earlier, Dr Rhoda Ajiboye, the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Health, said, “Leprosy is an age-long disease dated back to 600BC’’.
Ajiboye explained that leprosy had remained a disease of public health concern in Nigeria.
Quoting a data from the Nigeria Disease Control Centre, she said that no fewer than 3,500 Nigerians were diagnosed with leprosy every year with about 25 per cent having some degrees of disability.
“It occurs in all ages, ranging from early infancy through adult life, and affects the skin, the peripheral nerves and mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and eyes of the infected person,’’ Ajiboye said.
The permanent secretary said, “it is an airborne disease that is transmitted mainly through the spread of nasal secretion of infected patients, and also through inoculation into broken skin.’’
She warned people against the erroneous perception that the disease was a punishment from God, advising the community to make judicious use of the rehabilitated settlement.
Also, Dr Oluwatosin Fakayode, the state Director of Public Health, said that the condition of the leprosy settlement at Oke-Igbala had been in deplorable condition.
According to him, the settlement is close to a century old, gone dilapidated while inmates have resulted to begging to survive.
Fakayode said the situation prompted the state government, with the help of Damien Foundation of Belgium, to rehabilitate and build new structures in the settlement.
Commenting, Dr Usman Attayib, the representative of Damien Foundation in Nigeria, said that the foundation specialised in caring for people with tuberculosis and Leprosy.
He said that people with leprosy in the settlement needed assistance from individuals and organisations.
The Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba AbdulRaheem Adeoti, commended the Kwara Government and Damien Foundation for rehabilitation of the settlement.