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Physician Warns On The Dangers Of Smoking

A consultant and Public Health Physician with the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Professor Tanimola Akande has cautioned that smokers are liable to terminal diseases. The Professor lamented the increase of non communicable diseases in Nigeria.

He was speaking with Journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital, North Central Nigeria at the Inauguration of members of Board of Trustees of a Non Governmental Organisation, Palliative Care Patients Support Foundation held at the Nightingale Hall of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, UITH.

Professor Akande also noted that exposing plastic bottles and sachet water to sun may lead to chemical leaching and release harmful chemicals like dioxin which increases the risk of cancer.

Professor Akande, who is a specialist in Health Management explained that People’s lifestyle, especially drinking of alcohol is a contributory factor to chronic diseases such as diabetes.

The don prompted the staff of the Pain & Palliative Care Unit of the UITH with some public-spirited individuals, groups and organisations, to establish the Non Governmental Organisation to harness resources and raise funds for treatment of patients with life threatening ailments in the hospital.

A Palliative Care Physician, Dr Israel Kolawole, who is the President of the NGO,  said the establishment of the Non Governmental Organisation was aimed to cater for the indigents who could not afford the hospital expenses and the rich ones that had been rendered poor because of the financial burden of the care.

Dr Kolawole said that, “majority of our patients are indigent; the rich ones have been rendered poor because of financial burden of care, loss of jobs due to frequent hospitalizations and other challenges of care and stigmatization from their diseases”.

The Anaesthetist turned Palliative Care Physician,  said the Pain and Palliative Care Unit of the UITH was established over 14 years ago to provide care to meet the peculiar needs of patients with Cancer, Covid-19 and other advanced progressive life-threatening diseases.

“Many of the people are living and dying in unrelieved pain with uncontrolled physical symptoms; unresolved psycho-social and spiritual problems, abandoned, in fear, isolation and loneliness,” he said.

Dr Kolawole, explained that the non-governmental organisation courted partnership with public-spirited individuals, groups and organisations to harness resources for community participation, saying that personal resources of members of the organisation were grossly inadequate to support patients.

“For most of them, it is not the fear of death that is most important. After all, we all are going to die someday. But most people want to die with dignity and in peace. The needs of these patients include relief from pain and other distressing symptoms that constitute suffering in order to improve their comfort and quality of life.

“Since our healthcare system in Nigeria runs on cash and carry basis and patients often have to pay for all treatments from their pockets, many of these patients frequently struggle with the financial burdens related to their care and many are out rightly often unable to meet the personal expenses involved in their care”, he said.

Also speaking at the event , the Wife of the Kwara State Governor, Ambassador Olufolake Abdulrazaq, who spoke through the State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Raji Rasaki, identified with the Palliative Care Patients Support Foundation, calling on influential individuals and wealthy people in the society to support the Non Governmental Organisation.

The Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Professor Abdullah Yussuf, lauded the initiative of the Palliative and Care Unit of the University in ameliorating the sufferings of the patients.

He pledged the support of the Teaching hospital to the activities of the Non Governmental Organisation.

Members of the Board of Trustees of the foundation include a Professor of Public Health, Tanimola Akande, Emeritus Professor Luke Edungbola, a former Chief Medical Director of UITH, Professor Suleiman Alege Kuranga, a legal practitioner, Reverend John Olusola Baiyeshea (SAN), wife of a business tycoon, Hajia Bolanle Yusuf, and Dr. Israel Kolawole who is the President of the Foundation among others.

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