…Over 3,000 visually impaired children benefits from free eye surgery – SiB Coordinator
The Coordinator of Oyo, Osun, and Ogun States for the ‘Seeing is Believing’ Comprehensive Child Eye Health in Nigeria, Mr. Clement Obayi has disclosed that 84 percent of blindness were as a result of avoidable cataract which is the commonest cause of blindness.
As he maintained that not less than 3,460 visually impaired Nigerian children has benefited from the free eye surgery for children living with various impaired vision across Nigeria.
He made the disclosure in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, while speaking at a meeting with media health correspondents, from Oyo and Ogun States, which was tagged: “Comprehensive Child Eye Health Briefing”.
Clement pointed out that two in 10,000 children in Nigeria are blind or have severe visual Impairment, and over 50 percent of children die within 1-2 years of becoming blind while blind conditions are also causes of child mortality.
He noted that delayed in treatment of children eye challenges can lead to irrevasable impaired sight, with the consequent of diminishing quality of life, lack of access to education, and future employment challenges which will affect country’s economic growth and development.
According to him, “This program is meant to promotes, prevent, cure, rehabilitate/educate components of child eye health which is being implemented by Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) in partnership with the Standard Chartered Bank.”
Clement noted that the program has trained 2,388, health workers, at primary health centers, and also 163 eye care specialists have been trained, while over 1.5 million children have been screened for eye challenges in all the clusters areas.
“We have primary health centers in all local government areas we covered, with drugs free of charge for the children with eye challenges, We have secondary care units in each states we covered, like in Ibadan there is Eleta Eye Institute, and Ring Road Hospital Ibadan, where you can get both drugs and devices for children with eye challenges.
“We also have some health education Schools for the eye impaired children, like the one we have in Ibadan the Omonigbeheyin School for the Blinds and Handicap.
“Seeing is Believing Comprehensive Child Eye Health has giving 3,460 visually impaired Nigerian children free eye surgery, we had also assisted children with various sight challenges by provision of 27, 443 spectacles or low vision devices.
“Seeing is Believing is a three years comprehensive child eye health Initiative implemented in four clusters, with the cluster one comprised of Oyo, Osun and Ogun States, while cluster two comprises Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Nasarawa and Plateau States, while cluster three is for Kano, Jigawa, and Katsina States, with cluster four which comprises Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.
Clement however, called on the media to assist in disseminating the activities of the organisation concerning child eye health programmes.
“Media should help us to produce documentaries highlighting issue of child eye health in Nigeria, they should provide platform for live phone-in discussion program on child eye health, there should be air jingles on child eye health issues and the print media should provide columns designated for eye health awareness raising.”
Speaking at the event, the Chairperson of Nigeria Women in Journalist (NAWOJ), Oyo State Chapter, Mrs. Jadesola Ajibola, noted that the media plays a significant role in the society especially in the development of every sector of the economy, urging them to always report anything that entails child eye health and child health related issues in their reportage.
“It is the role of the media to create awareness on various issues including children who are most vulnerable in the country, which is the reason for this building programme to create awareness for adequate healthcare delivery for children under the age of 18years.”
She however said that journalists should be encourage for their reportage by giving annual recognition of journalists who write on child eye health care, supporting journalists with working tools, regular training and retraining of journalists on child eye health care, and readiness of experts to give adequate information to the media, among others.