Dr. Japeth Olugbogi, an Epidemiologist and Public Health Physician, has said the main reason behind the increasing cases of sudden deaths among Nigerians could be due to complications from undetected and untreated hypertension, positing that the deaths are not caused by witches or diabolical powers as widely believed in this country.
According to the physician, a lot of people die in their sleep while many people just slump and die because their blood pressure is high.
Dr. Olugbogi explained that though he may not dispute the activities of witches, findings have shown that so many people die from complications that arise from non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease which he said were preventable and treatable.
The epidemiologist who is also the Executive Director of Japheth Olugbogi Foundation stated this during the first free medical outreach programme organised by the Ikale Heritage Development Association for the needy among the people of Ikale resident in Lagos State.
The physician said to curb the increasing cases of sudden deaths in Nigeria, people must go for regular health screening so that the killer diseases could be detected early.
He also urged companies and non-governmental organisations to offer free health screening to communities.
Speaking on the benefits of the free health screening outreach targeted at over 100 elderly persons, Dr. Olugbogi said, “So many people walk around without knowing about their health status. A lot of people walk around with their blood pressure up to 200 mmHg over 100 mmHg.
“From our experience of rendering this kind of service in the community, we have so many people that are coming down with diabetes or hypertension and they just know about the high BP the first time.
“The essence of routine medical screening is to afford people the opportunity to know about these things and then take the bull by the horn and get the required treatment as at when due.
“This will help reduce the scourge of NCDs in our society. It will help reduce mortality and morbidity that are due to NCDs in our society.”
Giving further insight, he said, “When we were young, a lot of people died. A lot of people die in their sleep and the next thing we hear is that they have been called or that they have been attacked by arrows, among all sorts of things.
“We are not disputing that there may be witches or wizard activities due to diabolical means but then again, we have realised that so many people die from communicable and NCDs, yet the complications that arise from these NCDs are preventable and treatable.
“A lot of people die in their sleep; a lot of people just slump and die because their BP is high.
“There is a video on WhatsApp of an elderly male that slumped while preaching and died. If you investigate very well, he may have had high BP, stroke, or partial stroke at some point in time.
“These things happen; these things abound in these societies and people don’t know. When we do medical outreaches we use them to encourage all Nigerians, all foundations, and associations to either partner with people like us or even carry out their own free medical services.
“So that people in underserved communities who live far away from hospitals or health centers can have the opportunity of getting checked so that they can get treatment while their NCDs are still at the very early stage.”
He stressed that free health screening is crucial because there are so many people in the community who may not have enough money to buy drugs or money to go to hospitals to check themselves.
“There are also people who do not know that they should check themselves routinely for developing medical conditions. Some people do not have time to check themselves routinely as well.
“In addition, many people live far away from the hospitals and so the essence of medical screening is to let them be aware of the status of their blood pressure, blood sugar, hepatitis B status and HIV status.
“What we do is to screen them for all these diseases and then at the end of the day, for those we can treat, we also offer those drugs”, he added.
He noted that the 2022 World Health Organisation Non-Communicable diseases Progress Monitor showed that NCDs were on the rise.
To achieve good health and prevent untimely death, he urged Nigerians to regularly embrace routine health checks assuring that NCDs are preventable and treatable when detected.
The Chairman of Ikale Heritage Development Association, Otunba Sola Olatunji said regular health checks would help ensure the wellness of the people, stressing that health is wealth.
Olatunji decried the spate of sudden deaths recorded in modern times among the people of the community.
“We feel we can halt this by embarking on a health awareness campaign, educating our people on how to manage their health and an outright examination and treatment of those who can’t afford the high cost of medication,” he added.