By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
The Lions Club International, District 404 A2 Nigeria, yesterday in Cross River State flagged off the construction of an ultra-modern Diabetes Screening/Treatment Centre, at the General Hospital, Ogoja, in Ogoja Local Government Area of the state.
The health facility, according to the leadership of the club, would cost the organization about N150 million, and the facility, upon completion, would serve people in the Northern senatorial district of Cross River State, as well as the adjourning states of Ebonyi, Benue, and probably Cameroonians, with well equipped laboratories and an ambulance.
In her remarks at the ground breaking ceremony ahead of the construction of the facility, the District Governor of Lions District 404 A2, Lion Lady Lynda Odu-Okpeseyi, PMJF, NLCF, stated that the need to improve the quality of life of the people informed the construction of the project.
She said, “This event is particularly significant because it marks the beginning of a new phase in the history of Lions Club International, District 404A2, Nigeria.
“I salute every Lion leader and stakeholder here present to witness the beauty of service towards improving our communities and humanity.
“Studies have shown that on the average, 40 people die everyday from diabetes-related ailments in Nigeria.
“This informed the need for this facility, which will cater for the health needs of those in surrounding communities, while providing a point of care for screening and treatment to help avert the looming numbers recorded nationwide.
“Underprivileged families in these communities can confidently walk into a modern facility without the fear of huge financial cost to seek screening and help in diabetes-related ailments.
“This will in effect encourage a drop in the prevalent death records due to diabetes-related issues.
“Our investment here will help ensure that the people of Ogoja and Nigeria at large will have the health infrastructure that meets international standards to efficiently prosecute diabetes-related concerns and other medical issues connected to it.”
The district governor stated that their investment in strengthening Nigeria’s health system goes considerably beyond just constructing buildings as they build and equip.
She maintained that Lions International, District 404 A2 Nigeria is also working closely with states, federal, and local governments to bring improvement to quality of life and general wellbeing of the citizens across its six thematic areas of focus.
She enumerated the six thematic areas to include: hunger, environment, youth empowerment, vision, pediatric cancer advocacy as well as diabetes.
The district governor averred that part of their program and intervention also focuses on policy formulation, national health care systems that give equal opportunity to all men as well as a safe society for all.
In her remarks, the Cross River State Commissioner for Health and Chairman COVID-19, Dr. Betta Edu, stated that the state is proud of what the Lions Club International, District 404 A2 Nigeria, is doing in Ogoja, as it is now becoming a new centre of excellence.
Edu stated that government was doing everything humanly possibly to ensure that the lofty project is given support, adding that with the project, thousands of lives are surely going to be saved.
However, the Director General, DG, Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, stated that the project is a laudable high impact project, and pledged her commitment to ensure that the project is completed.
In his remarks, the Medical Superintendent in charge of Ogoja General Hospital, Dr. Ben Ajogbor, said that the hospital, which was set up in 1913, has been transformed and the diabetes centre will boost healthcare delivery.