The free surgery intervention programme for indigent people, initiated by Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, has been launched with surgical operations performed on patients at the State Hospitals in Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode and Ilaro.

The programme, which began with the registration of beneficiaries, will  involve major and minor surgical operations as part of the governor’s medical palliative to the people.

Speaking after witnessing the first surgery performed on a patient under the free surgery programme at the State Hospital, Ilaro, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr. Rotimi Ogungbe, said the programme, the brainchild of the governor, was meant to bring relief to people with medical challenges that needed operation.

The services rendered under the programme, Ogungbe said, included preoperative, operative and post-operative.

He said: “I have gone round and I have seen the people who have been operated on. What the governor has done is unprecedented in the history of this state. The free surgery programme covers all operations, including orthopaedics, we are doing gynaecological operations, obstetrics and others.”

The special adviser lauded the state government for making available medical equipment and other surgical resources, saying medical personnel had been mobilised to make the programme a success.

The Coordinator in charge of the programme in Yewa Zone, Dr. Bashirudeen Oni, said surgical operations would be carried out on patients with breast lumps, hernia, fibroid, goiters, soft tissue sarcoma, lipoma, prostate enlargement, adrenalectomy, cataract, among others.

He said the hospital hopes to operate on about eight patients from the start and scale it up as the programme progresses.

The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Yusuf Abdulwahab, hailed the people for turning out in large number to benefit from the programme.

He said those cleared were already undergoing surgical operations.

Mrs. Saidat Dopemu and Miss Ogunsiji Waidat, who were the first and second patients to be operated on at the State Hospital in Ilaro, thanked the governor for the gesture, saying it would have been difficult to raise money if they were to pay for the operation.

Mr. Adisa Oladejo, whose son is to undergo a hernia operation, expressed gratitude to the governor “for coming up with a brilliant idea at this difficult time.”

He called on those with serious medical challenges, but lacked the wherewithal, to take advantage of the programme to sort themselves out.

At the State Hospital, Ijaye, Abeokuta, the Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, who is the Permanent Secretary and team lead of the Free Surgery Intervention, Dr. Kayode Oladeinde, said out of the many to undergo operations, six patients were successfully operated in the morning.

Oladeinde, who hailed the governor for the succour brought to the people, “especially at this difficult time,” also appreciated the governor for investing in the health sector in the last five years.

Appreciating the governor for the laudable initiatives, Taiwo Ojeje and Timothy Sowale, who were operated on, said the free surgery has given them a new lease of life, pledging to contribute their quotas to the development of the state as soon as they are fit.

At the State Hospital, Ijebu Ode, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr. Tayo Lawal, noted that everyone registered to undertake free surgery during the programme would be issued with an Ogun State Health Insurance Agency (OGSHIA) card fully paid for by Governor Abiodun.

“The OGSHIA programme has been on for some time now. What it simply means is that for a card of N1,000 per month or N12,000 per year, you are entitled to about 200 ailments captured under the insurance scheme.

“Once you are above 18, you can pay. But, for a family of six, we capture them under that scheme of N12,000 per year. That is different from what we are doing now. We are just using this as a way of bringing more people into the insurance scheme because everyone registered here will be given a card, which will entitle them to visit the hospital for the next one year. It’s been paid for by Governor Abiodun,” he said.

Speaking during an interview, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Adebanjo Adebukola, expressed happiness about the free surgical intervention programme that had given her hope of having her operation done without paying.

Also, Mr. Fadipe Solomon and Master Adekoya Emmanuel, who both thanked Prince Abiodun for allowing them to have their surgery done without paying, called on other citizens to partake in the free surgical intervention programme.

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