MY STORY WITH RAYS OF HOPE SUPPORT INITIATIVE-ROHSI
BY: Benjamin Olorunfemi
In July 2016, after being away for weeks I came home to observe some off-duty days with my family. I knew I was having symptoms of not being in good health but I cannot say precisely what was wrong with me. My wife and I was a bit worry because I hardly fell sick.
I took some medication (just as we like to do in this part of the world without consulting a doctor; or any medical personnel). I was a bit ok as I went back to my place of work after observing the few days off. But by the time I resumed back, it became an issue as I couldn’t comprehend or coordinate myself. I was advised to visit a hospital to see a doctor. I went as advise, and the doctor that attended to me raised an eyebrow about my blood pressure numbers (to me it was nothing because I did not know the health implications of the numbers).
I was given medication for few days with advice to come back in a matter of days but within two days my blood pressure numbers rose from 140/100 mmHg to 198/125mmHg (at this stage, all was happening to me as I could not see, the headache, the heartbeats among others). I was rushed back to the hospital by my colleagues, where I was admitted and put under observation for over 12 hours (Their actions saved my life from some health complications I got to know later).
I got advised of my life through the medical doctor that attended to me on what was happening to me, the prevalence in Nigeria and the health implications it could cause me if I did not get to manage it on time. He made me understand that it has led to many dying at their prime but; I wondered why with all my education and exposure I did not get to know this
With that, consultations were made within the circle of friends, family, and community members among others. Books and Journals were read researching on what is high blood pressure, diabetes among other non-communicable diseases and what I found out (that millions of Nigerians are battling with these diseases without in knowing of what it is) led to the desire to raise awareness, provide health education, get people screened for hypertension and diabetes with the vision of reducing the untimely death resulting from complications caused by these ailments
We found out that if people had access to information and medical services early, deaths and other health complications arising from these ailments could be prevented. Then we decided to fight against these diseases with one on one talk Initiative, which was later extended to our communities but because of the increasing number of people who need information and treatment, Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI) was born in March 2017
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension and diabetes are responsible for an estimated 45% of adults’ death due to heart diseases and 51% of deaths due to stroke globally with studies blaming the increasing prevalence of the condition on lifestyle and dietary factors such as physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use, and a diet high in sodium usually from processed and fatty foods. Unfortunately, the control of hypertension and diabetes has become a priority in many countries of the world, but remain a crisis in Nigeria in terms of awareness and management as the condition continues unabated.
Studies continue to show from experts that more Nigerians are daily battling with these ailments without laid down measures why? The economic downturn and the astronomical increase in managing these ailments are forcing many of our people to go on compulsory ‘’ drug holiday’’ as they found it hard to get funds in getting medical screening and medication on real-time.
Today people are seeking an alternative to orthodox drugs and treatment as the economic situation has not allowed the majority of them to be able to cope with continuing medication.
Our government that was supposed to help in terms of awareness, providing relief and subsidies to pharmaceutical companies and the people with hypertension and diabetes to ameliorates their health conditions are not doing much even; our primary healthcare centres that supposed to be the first point of call for screening, detecting and help in alleviating these ailments are not functioning to their name. Today, many of these patients are going back to alternative medicine or ‘’ drug holiday’’ as I have said earlier which often worsens the condition resulting in more health complications.
Today we are coming in as an organization to provide means by which more of our people with these ailments can be reached through programmes like our community outreaches where we have provided free screening and medication to over 3000 Nigerians.
We all know there are significant health and economic gains attached to early detection, adequate treatment and good control of hypertension and diabetes than treating the complications of these ailments.
Through my organization, we have the vision of supporting the health and well being of our people through health education and enlightenment but it’s not what we can do alone as an organization we need like minded people like you to help us with your time, network, resources among others in achieving the following:
- To create awareness on the effect and management of hypertension and diabetes among our people with special interest among the low income/ less privileged members of our society
- To help increase the understanding among the communities especially the less privileged member of the communities battling with these ailments about its impact on their health
- To reduce the percentage of people with this disease significantly through our awareness, health education and community outreaches respectively with follow up on a great percentage of the people
- To provide people living with hypertension or diabetes with comprehensive information on the causes and management
- To provide our targeted audience with ongoing follow up information on hypertension and diabetes
- To reach a larger number of the communities with pamphlets, handbill, lecture in local dialect for clear and better understanding of what hypertension and diabetes are all about and how deadly it can become if not discovered and Managed on time.
- Discouraging people restoring to self –medication instead of seeking proper medical attention.
All of the above cannot be achieved without your efforts and contributions and that is why we are asking you to join us with all that you have in achieving these.
I am asking for whatever assistance you are ready to give as an individual and organization. Be your brother’s keeper; let us put an end to curtail the effects of these ailments among our people