The Nigeria National Stroke Prevention Programme, to forestall the alarming rate of sudden deaths in the country has been launched in Abuja by President Goodluck Jonathan.
During the launch at the fore-court of the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, the president and the Vice-President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, underwent series of medical check-ups in a mobile ambulance.
The ceremony, which was conducted mid-way into the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, was witnessed by ministers, presidential aides and other workers in the Presidential Villa.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said the programme was approved by the president as an antidote to the sudden death syndrome.
He said government was worried about the alarming rate of sudden death of Nigerians, particularly at their prime, and therefore evolved the programme to encourage people to check up their health status regularly for preventive measures.
“The health awareness programme is to help Nigerians to check up on their health on regular basis to take fitness seriously and take close attention to their lifestyles.
“Apart from in-born pre-conditions, the main causes of stroke and heart-attack are things that can be prevented like hypertension, diabetes, lack of exercise, excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking and so on”.
He said the need to act on a national scale prompted Jonathan and Namadi to demonstrate leadership by example by going undergoing the medical tests.
“They were seen by consultant doctors, who carried out some tests on them, such as body mass index, measurement of height and weight, blood pressure.
“The president approved of the programme to be managed by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with federal teaching hospitals and other hospitals in Nigeria as well as the Nigeria in Diaspora to execute the programme,’’ the Health Minister said.
Chukwu said the cost of the test was N50,000 but the government had subsidised it and reduced the cost to N10,000, particularly, for indigent Nigerians.