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Falls prevention and safety for our president: A call for action

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

By Adedotun Michael Ogunyemi

The recent fall of President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu during an official event to mark 25 years of democracy in Nigeria has rightly raised concerns about his safety and well-being. This incident, which saw the President slip while climbing the steps of a vehicle at Eagle Square in Abuja, serves as a stark reminder of the importance of fall prevention and the need for stringent safety measures, especially for individuals with a history of health challenges.

President Tinubu, who is 72 years old and was reported to have previously undergone knee surgery, requires meticulous environmental safety precautions. It is concerning that such measures appear to have been inadequate during this significant event.

The role of the Presidential Advance Team and security detail (ADC) is critical in ensuring that every environment the President navigates is hazard-free. This recent fall underscores a glaring lapse in this responsibility.

It is imperative that every location the President visits is thoroughly assessed for potential hazards. This includes ensuring that all pathways are clear of obstructions, that steps and platforms are stable and equipped with appropriate handrails, and that any carpets or rugs are securely fastened to prevent tripping. The vehicle used for the ceremonial rounds should have been checked for safety and accessibility, considering the President’s mobility challenges.

The incident also highlights the need for careful consideration of the President’s attire. Traditional agbada outfits, while culturally significant, can be cumbersome and pose a tripping hazard if not properly tailored. The President’s fashion team must prioritize functionality and safety, designing garments that are both dignified and manageable.

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As a seasoned physiotherapist with years of experience in fall risk assessment and prevention, I cannot overstate the importance of having a dedicated physiotherapist as part of the President’s immediate care team and daily entourage. A physiotherapist would provide the following critical services:

Continuous Supervision: Close supervision during public gatherings and functions to immediately address any potential hazards and ensure safe navigation.

Strengthening Exercises: Regular exercises to strengthen the President’s lower limb muscles and improve core stability and dynamic balance, significantly reducing the risk of falls.

Tailored Interventions: Personalised physiotherapy sessions to address any specific mobility issues, ensuring the President maintains optimal physical health and mobility.

The handlers of President Tinubu, including his ADC and the organizers of the event, must be held accountable for this lapse. It is unacceptable that such a preventable incident occurred, potentially putting the President’s health at risk. Moving forward, a comprehensive fall prevention strategy must be implemented, encompassing environmental modifications, appropriate attire and footwear, and the inclusion of a physiotherapist in the President’s entourage.

The safety and well-being of our President is of paramount importance. This recent fall should serve as a wake-up call to all involved in his care, handling, and security. By taking proactive steps, such as ensuring environmental safety, optimizing attire for mobility, and integrating physiotherapy into his routine care, we can prevent such incidents in the future. Let us prioritize the health and dignity of our President, ensuring he can fulfill his duties without the risk of preventable falls.

My name is Adedotun Michael Ogunyemi
A Seasoned Physiotherapist & Urgent Care Practitioner.

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