L-R: Mr. Goriola Erogbogbo, founder, LEF; Dr. Bolanle Okunowo and former Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo at the sensitisation programme on Thyroid disease prevention.

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Layi Erogbogbo Foundation (LEF) has sensitised about 500 students, teaching and non-teaching staff from both public and private schools in Lagos State on prevention of Thyroid disease as part of activities marking this year’s World Thyroid Day.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the programme at Oregun Senior High School in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, the founder, LEF, Mr. Goriola Erogbogbo said  that the event was meant to enlighten youths about the disease and related issues.

He disclosed that the vision of the foundation was to protect and enhance the health of the less privileged through surgical operations for about 100 patients annually besides meeting their medical needs through community outreaches to over 2 million Lagosians.

“It is our belief that health management approach will help us achieve our aims of preserving and enhancing the lives of the less privileged families for their well-being and success,” he said.

Stating the objectives of the Foundation, Erogbogbo said that LEF, a non-profit organization is dedicated to providing support with highly subsidized access to surgery, pre-surgery tests and treatment to tackle Goitre disease, raising awareness to promote knowledge in respect of preventive measures against the occurrences of the diseases among the citizens while also advocating positive lifestyle to reduce the manifestation.

Erogbogbo added that the organization intended to partner with the Lagos State Ministry of Education to organize free awareness campaign for public and privately-owned secondary schools in the State on the importance of optimal functioning of the thyroid gland in childhood, during pregnancy and throughout adult life.

He said the decision to take the campaign to schools was anchored on the fact that the youths were the most vulnerable group due to their unhealthy lifestyle and ignorance of the consequences.

While disclosing that the theme of this year’s campaign was “Know your neck, check your Thyroid,” he noted that the World Thyroid Day is dedicated to thyroid patients and all professionals including those who are committed to the study and treatment of thyroid diseases worldwide.

Answering the question on how the foundation funds its activities to achieve its objectives, Erogbogbo stated that funds were raised from the founder’s equity contributions, donations from corporate organizations and public spirited individuals who shared the vision of the foundation.

Advising the participants on the significant of the IEC materials distributed at the event, he charged them to utilize them and spread the knowledge they had acquired about the disease to others, especially family members, friends and colleagues to further drive home the campaign among the citizens.

Topics delivered at the programme included ‘Basic steps to reduce family risk factors,’ ‘Preventive measures and control of Thyroid disease,’ ‘Signs and symptoms of Thyroid disease’ as well as ‘Food and healthy living.’

Dr. Bolanle Okunowo, one of the speakers, said statistics had revealed that about 2.2 billion people in the world were suffering for Thyroid diseases, saying that Nigeria has been identified as one of the countries most affected by goitre.

She said iodine salt intake would definitely help in preventing goitre, adding that seafood  like shrimp and others were rich in iodine and advised Nigerians to eat food that contained iodine or add iodine salt to their meals.