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Lagos combats preventable blindness

By Chioma Obinna

As Nigeria joins the world to celebrate World Sight Day, Lagos State government says it has adopted three core strategies to ensure attainment of the objective of vision 2020.

The three strategies, according to the officials of the State Ministry of Health includes infrastructure and technology development, incorporation of the principle of primary health care and human resource development.

In a message to mark the Day with the theme; “Countdown to 2020’. VISION 2020: The Right to Sight”, Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Mr. Toyin Amzat said the objective of the global initiative for elimination of avoidable blindness the Lagos State Blindness Prevention Programme has metamorphosed to a permanent, well structured, sustainable comprehensive eye care system since inception in 2000 through creation of awareness and conducting free eye screening, distribution of free glasses, drugs and performing free eye surgeries.

“The programme has reached out to 339,409 people in various communities with 113,663 people benefitting from free eye glasses, 25,489 people had free eye surgery done to restore their vision while 34,138 pupils in the various schools have also been screened.

His words: “At the primary level, all the functional Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in the state are equipped to offer primary eye care services vis-a-vis vision screening, eye health education, free treatment for conjunctivitis, and prompt referral of more difficult cases to the designated secondary eye units.

Presently the installation of vision corridors, a self testing painted wall is on-going in all the local council area in collaboration with Save-A-Sight Foundation.”

Amzat further noted that at the secondary level, eight General Hospitals have been equipped to investigate and manage cataract, glaucoma and render other secondary eye care services just as there is a dedicated eye institute at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to render tertiary eye care services.

“All these units are managed by skilled and efficient eye care personnel. In term of training development, 157 primary eye care workers have been trained; three Ophthalmologists were made to undergo training in small incision cataract surgery, two in phacosurgery, and one in medical retinal specialist. As part of our action plan in 2011, all Ophthalmologists in Lagos State will be trained in small incision cataract surgery”.

He reiterated government’s commitment towards the pursue of the goal of achieving sight for all by the year 2020 as well as rendering qualitative, affordable and accessible eye care services and free eye screening/surgery mission to the people.


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