By Amaka Agwuegbo
First City Monument Bank, FCMB, is set to sponsor eye surgery for 600 cataract patients as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
This was disclosed by the Executive Director/Chief Operating Officer, FCMB, Mr. Anurag Saxena, who said this yearâ€™s CSR is to make an impact on the community that has given the bank so much.
â€œAfter the Central Bank of Nigeriaâ€™s, CBN, audit tsunami, it is time to give back to the society and we want to make an impact in our community which is why we are putting our money where our mouth is by giving sight back to these people.â€ Saxena said.
Also speaking, FCMBâ€™s Head of CSR, Mrs. Kemi-Sokenu Morris, pointed out that this yearâ€™s CSR is in partnership with Mission for Vision – Tulsi Chanrai Foundation to reduce the number of avoidable blindness in our society.
â€œThis is an intervention activity aimed at restoring the sight of 600 cataract victims in 4 centers in Yola, Calabar, Owerri and Kebbi. The Calabar center would run from 25th November to December 15th, while those of other centers would simultaneously run from December 1-19.
Morris said though the bankâ€™s focal areas are skill acquisition and environment, it decided to sponsor the eye surgeries by providing high quality free surgeries for cataract among the rural poor in Nigeria.
She added that after the first set of 600 patients, surgery would be carried out on other cataract patients.
While stating that 50 per cent of blindness in Nigeria is as a result of cataract, the Executive Director, Tulsi Chanrai Foundation, Dr. Prakash Mirchandani, said 150 eye surgeries would be conducted on the poorest of the poor who canâ€™t transport themselves to the hospitals nor pay for medical bills in each of the 4 centers for the duration of the campaign.
He also listed lack of accessibility, affordability and awareness as some of the major factors responsible for cataract blindness.
â€œThere canâ€™t be a more priceless gift than the gift of sight. Besides being a gift, it is a community investment by FCMB because recent research has shown that economic empowerment is directly linked to the sight.
â€œA lot of people and organizations do cheque book CSR but FCMB has indicated that it would be fully involved in the procedures.â€
He added that the Foundation would follow up on the patients on the 15th, 30th and 6 months after surgery. He explained that this is to ensure that they properly recover and to avoid any complications.
Pointing out that about 500,000 Nigerians are blind, Mirchandani said that 4% of adults above 40 years are blind with 50% blind due to cataract, translating to 1.25 million people with cataract in Nigeria.