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Don calls for improvement in health sector

By Chioma Obinna & Emmanuel Ebeleke
Nigeria may not join the rest of the world in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come 2015 unless there are urgent intervention to improve its health indices, Dean, Faculty of Dental Sciences, University of Ibadan, Professor Gbemisola Oke has warned.

Prof. Gbemisola Oke who gave the verdict at the 3rd annual scientific conference of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, tagged “Oral Health and the Millennium Development Goals” also called for development of policies that will accord priority to Oral health in the country.

In his lecture entitled “Oral Health and the MDGs,” Professor Oke maintained that unless the Federal Government expedite action on reducing the increasing high rate of avoidable deaths and improving the living standard of the citizenry, the dream of achieving the MDGs in 2015 will elude her.

According to him, “at the rate at which we are going in Nigeria today in tackling maternal and infant mortality and other avoidable deaths, it appears we are not likely going to achieve the goals of MDGs come 2015″.

His words, “MDGs is to address certain diseases as malaria, HIV & AIDs, guinea worm, leprosy and polio etc, but much has not been achieved in addressing these diseases in Nigeria. Over a period of time now, they have continued to constitute great hazards to the Nigerian citizens. Unfortunately, these diseases can be controlled using modern technologies.”

Oke who decried exclusion of oral disease among diseases to be tackled before 2015 as recommended by the World Health Assembly stated that among all the diseases addressed in the MDGs, no Oral disease was addressed among the listed diseases.

The Professor of Dentistry, noted that over 500 million women in the world die every  year while an estimate of 112 million children grows underweight, due to poor nutrition, in spite of all the preventive measures being taken  to check it.

She further disclosed that about 900 million people in the world still have to rely on water from what are known as unimproved sources, a situation she described as unacceptable, especially in Nigeria where she described  the statistics as very alarming.

With the enormous resources abound in Nigeria, Oke affirmed that Nigeria has no option than to improve  the nutritional value of its citizens by providing them with portable water and food rich in nutrition.

She identified under-nutrition as an underlying cause of infant mortality, which according her, contributes immensely towards most of the health failing situations in the contemporary times.

Continuing, the University Don cautioned on the consumption of  tobacco smoking in the crusade for improved Oral health, saying that tobacco smoking if not checked would continue to impact  adversely to health, poverty, malnutrition and education, and declared that increase in tobacco smoking will continue to pose a direct threat to the MDGs unless something is done to stop it.

On the  way forward,  Professor Oke advised that Oral health should be accorded a priority place within the overall development and economic policy plans of the government.

Earlier in his address, the host and Provost of the College, Professor Atoyebi who lamented high infra structural decay in the college emphasized the importance of nutrition in the attainment of the MDGs and commended the organizers of the programme for the choice of the theme, which he said was apt.

Atoyebi called on government and well-meaning individuals and corporate organizations in the country to come to their aid at giving the infrastrutural status of the college  a face lift.


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