…makes case for public health education
By John Eche
A Nigerian-born, American-based medical doctor, Dr Joseph Takon is giving back to his fatherland by seeking to improve public health through a radio show that makes its debut in Lagos shortly.
Takon, who is the presiding pastor with the City of David Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), in Atlanta, Georgia, USA is kicking off Vital Health, a weekly health radio show which will enlighten the public on issues of public health and answer many health-related issues bothering them.
According to the graduate of Medicine from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, the programme is part of a passionate call to give back to the society by meeting a very crucial need.
‘We all know how important health is, and the fact that the health sector in Nigeria is in bad shape. People die avoidable deaths all the time and so many suffer for so long from curable diseases either because the facilities are not there or they just do not have simple health information. For instance, people need to know the role their lifestyles including eating habits, play in their overall wellbeing. For instance, more than 90% of hypertension cases (which affects about 20 million Nigerians) are preventable, and about 300% more quantity of salt is added to meals,’ said Takon.
An alumnus of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute of MooreHouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, back in the US, Takon also runs a free clinic in his Atlanta base for indigent and uninsured persons.
‘We want people to eat healthy, feel healthy, stay healthy and live long’, he said. Takon illustrated his passion for public healthcare by making allusions to Mary Slessor. ‘I was born a twin in far-away Cameroon. Long before then, Mary Slessor had stopped the killing of twins in the part of the country where I come from (Cross River State). If I were born there then, perhaps I wouldn’t be alive now, so that shows that one person’s passion in saving lives can go a very long way’, said Takon, a member of the American Public Health Association (APHA) as well as the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) who practised in several places in Nigeria including the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital and in Haiti before relocating to the USA, also encouraged other Nigerians in the Diaspora to give back and save millions, ‘one life at a time’.
The program, he said, will address several health issues ranging from cancer to diabetes. Others include heart diseases, hypertension, stroke, malaria among other diseases and health conditions and will be disseminated in simple ‘Elementary Four’ language, accessible to all.
Vital Health will take off early 2017 on Star FM, Lagos on a weekly basis and according to Takon, will evolve into a daily program as well as running on multiple media platforms including radio, TV, print and social media. The initiative will ultimately involve dimensions including health communication, policy formulation and partnership with other strategic partners.
‘Dr. Takon’s initiative is quite commendable and we encourage other Nigerians in the Diaspora and indeed other similarly good-spirited individuals to emulate him,’ said Betty Abah, a journalist and activist and Executive Director of CEE-HOPE, a child’s right and development NGO. ‘It is a welcome way of giving back to the country especially in an area which affects everyone but unfortunately has been paid very little interest by the government. I have no doubt that this gesture will lead not only to the good health of millions of listeners and ultimately viewers, but also help stem avoidable deaths in the country. People need vital health information as that certainly makes a world of difference,’ added Abah who is a local consultant on the program.