…targets 120, 000 children in 320 schools nationwide

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

MedTech Africa, a Nigerian Healthtech Company, has launched cardiovascular wellness campaign targeted at children of school age (5-17 years) nationwide.

It said the campaign is focused on addressing cardiovascular health issues, and to implement a groundbreaking project that promotes cardiovascular health and healthy habits in basic and secondary schools in Nigeria.

Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Nelson Igbiriki, told journalists at the launch of the Play4Health campaign at Army Day Secondary School, Mambila barrack, Abuja, added that the campaign was to promote the culture of healthy living and dieting in the children.

He said the campaign will also promote teaching and practice of cardiovascular wellness in the schools, thus helping to detect early, treat and prevent the consequences of cardiovascular disease among the children and youths in primary and secondary schools.

He said: “The heart is the engine of the body, unfortunately, many people lack the necessary knowledge on how to care for the heart. So, there’s need for the young ones to have adequate knowledge on how to protect their heart from cardiovascular challenges that could have unpleasant outcomes.”

A team member and Consultant Cardiologist, Dr. Life Ajemba, in his presentation, said the target is 120,000 students in 320 schools nationwide, while they would be reaching out to 50,000 children in 100 basic and secondary schools in FCT with the cardiovascular wellness campaign.

He said: “The mission will be accomplished through some line of activities which include, enhancing health education by developing a comprehensive health education curriculum that covers key topics such as nutrition, hygiene practices, cardiovascular health, and lifestyle management.

“Promoting physical activities by encouraging regular physical activities among school children by integrating exercise and sports into the school schedule. We would conduct screenings and health assessments by establishing a system for early detection of cardiovascular/metabolic complications such as malnutritional diseases (obesity, kwashiorkor), hypertension, high cholesterol level among others. This shall be done through health talks, measurement of BP, height, weight, waist circumferences, Body Mass Index (BMI).

“For those who are detected to have high blood pressure, or are obese will undergo further tests and blood for sugar and cholesterol. We would also engage in capacity building for teachers through provision of specialized health training for teachers led by specially trained health personnel to deliver health education, conduct screenings, and promote healthy eating, hygiene, physical activity, and lifestyle management.

“We would also carry out technology integration by leveraging mobile and web solutions to streamline data collection, monitoring, and reporting processes with data shared with the Ministry of Health.”

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He confirmed that the health team from Medtech Africa is led by experienced Consultant Physician/Cardiologist and other specially trained health workers comprising of medical officers, pharmacists, nurses, laboratory scientists and data personnel.

He explained that the Cardiologists would carry out the initial training of the health team who will then train the teachers in various schools. “The target is to visit 320 schools with the aim of addressing cardiovascular health issues and promoting wellness by screening and educating students aged 5-17 years.

“MedTech Africa is working in collaboration with the Ministries of Health, Education, Youth & Sports, NYSC, and international scientific partners from the Department of Public Health, University of Switzerland, the Institute of Child Health, University of Ibadan and the Healthtech Hub Africa to integrate the #Play4Health project into the School curriculum.”

Meanwhile, the Mandate Secretary, FCT Health and Environmental Services Secretariat, Dr. Adedolapo Fasawe, who was represented by Dr. Abubakar Ahmadu, appreciated MedTech for such innovation that would, expectedly, improve cardiovascular knowledge of the children.

She recognized the importance of cardiovascular health even from a young age, insisting that the hearts are the engines of the bodies which pump life-giving blood to every cell, organ, and tissue. “And just like any engine, they need care and maintenance to function at their best.

“We need to instill healthy habits in our children that will last a lifetime. Through education, activities, and support, we aim to empower our young ones to make smart choices for their heart health. We need to explore the power of nutrition, the joy of physical activity, and the importance of mindfulness in nurturing strong and resilient hearts.

“We need more knowledge on foods that fuel our bodies, the exercises that strengthen our hearts, and the strategies to manage stress and promote overall well-being. But most importantly, we will do it together as a community dedicated to the well-being of our children. Because when we work together, we can achieve remarkable things.”

Solomon Johnson, who represented the Mandate Secretary, FCT Education, Danlami Ihayyo, appreciated the interest of the Healthtech Company in promoting health knowledge among children in FCT.

He reminded them that the children are minors, stressing the importance of signed consent form from their parents before whatever screening could be conducted on them.

Photo caption

1) screening of the children during the launch of the campaign

2) Dr. Ajemba (on suit), Dr. Ahmadu (Mandate Secretary, FCT Health and Environmental Services Secretariat, on Hausa cap), and Solomon Johnson (Mandate Secretary, FCT Education on blue cloth).