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Ministry, NGO partner on prevention of blindness

Abuja—The Federal Ministry of Health has said it is partnering Helen Keller International (HKI), an NGO, to prevent blindness and other tropical diseases in the country.

The Minister of Health,  Prof.  Babatunde Osotimehin, said this when Dr Omo Ohiokpehai, Country representative of HKI, paid him a courtesy visit.

“The issues of disease prevention and access to health facilities to the vulnerable is of paramount importance to government.

“Government is leaving no stone unturned to make sure that Nigerians get quality health care, a statement on Sunday by Mrs  Boade Akinola, the Ministry’s Assistance Director, Press, quoted Osotimehin as saying.

The minister described blindness as a major health issue in the country, saying the ministry was willing to collaborate with the NGO.

Earlier,  Ohiokpehai said  according to a figure released by WHO, 45 million people are blind worldwide and another 314 million have impaired vision due to eye disease of uncorrected refractive errors.

She said HKI had for more than 10 years been involved in the control and combat of devastating global health threats of blindness and malnutrition.

Ohiokpehai said that twice yearly, KHI supports 11 states in Nigeria with vitamin A supplementation , with direct benefit to more than 5.3 million children.

The states are Adamawa, Borno , Akwa Ibom, Beune, Plateau, Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, Kogi, Gombe and Taraba.
“HKI has spent more than 1.45millio dollars for year 2009 in vitamin A supplementation and other eye health programme, she said.


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