By Franca Ofili
Dr Ozy Okonokhua, President of Nigerian Optometric Association has appealed to the Federal Government to give prority attention to the high prevalence rate of eye health care problems in the country.
Okonokhua made the call in Abuja on Wednesday during the commissioning of Free Community Eye Health Care programme called ‘Save Sight Project” at the internally displaced persons (IDP) IDP camp in New Kuchingora.
He said that the current National Blindness and Low Vision Survey showed that the highest prevalence of blindness occurred at the northern part of the country.
Okonokhua called on the government to take the leadership role and create enabling environment for eye care providers to help care for people with eye problems.
He expressed concerns that most IDPs camps had no clinic to address health issues saying that the camps challenges were under reported.
Okonokhua called on the government to create what is known as Crowd funding to provide health care for IDPs in the country.
Crowd Funding is the practice of funding of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money.
According to him, government should focus on tackling health challenges in the camps because if there is any outbreak of any epidemic the condition will be catastrophe.“If there is any outbreak of lassa fever in the camps, it will be a catastrophe because of the nature of the camps, no access water which is the fastest means of tackling health care challenges,’’ he said.
Dr Adaku Obia, convener of the project said the programme was inspired by her passion to help the needy.
Obia promised to continue with the project after her service year.
She also advised other corps members to serve their fatherland with passion, dignity and strength.
She urged other corps members to endeavor to impact positively in any community they are deployed to so that they can also be remembered.
According to her through the project, she has provided general health care services for the people in the camp and advise them on healthy living.
Obia said that in the months of November and December, 2019 eye glasses were given to people with eye problems while some were referred to Supreme Vision Eye Clinics to be given drugs and proper assistance.
She called on the government to establish standard eye clinic in the camps with materials and personnel to take care of their health challenges.
Dr Felix Olafisoye, Managing Director, Supreme Vision said that the project started in September 2019 with focus on IDP camps in the Federal Capital Territory.
Olafisoye who was among the sponsors said they were there to familiarise with the convener and to give all the necessary support like eye glasses, relieve materials and many other things.
Mr Luka Yathuma, Secretary of the camp told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the clinic built by the Germany Embassy in 2015 had only one retired nurse who comes once in a while.
Yathuma called on government to assist the camp with medical personal for the clinic to function properly.
He said that most pregnant women face the problem of access to medical care and cannot attend ante natal for lack of finance.“If we have enough medical personnel in the clinic, most diseases in the camp will be addressed and our women will be taken care of during delivery,’’ Yathuma said.
Some beneficiaries of the eye glasses thanked the convener for the good job and called on government to address the security issues in the country so that they can return to their homes.
According to the National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey in Nigeria conducted in 2005-2007, It was estimated that 1.13 million individuals aged 40 years were currently blind in Nigeria.
A further 2.7 million adults aged 40 years were estimated to have moderate visual impairment and an additional 400,000 adults were severely visually impaired.
4.25 million adults aged 40 years in Nigeria were visually impaired or blind. (NAN)