BY OLA AJAYI, IBADAN
AN ophthalmologist, Dr. Gboyega Ajayi, has said out of about 180m Nigeria population, over 4million of them are visually impaired and if nothing is done, the number will rise to 10million by year 2020.
The eye expert, at an initiation ceremony tagged ‘Seeing is Believing project’ in Ibadan Wednesday, said 80 per cent of this number of blindness could be avoided if genuine eye treatment was sought at the early stage.
He lamented the insufficient number of ophthalmologist in the country adding that as at now, Nigeria has only 300 ophthalmologists.
The reason for the low number of ophthalmologist, he added, further was that the country train as low as 20 new ophthalmologists every year, the figure which is a far cry to those that need medical attention.
For the country to take care of those in need of eye treatment, the expert said, it has to train no fewer than 1,500 ophthalmologists by year 2020.
He said it was regrettable that most people go blind from simple preventable or curable conditions such as Apollo, gonococcal conjunctivitis.
To create awareness, treat indigent people who may not be able to afford eye treatment, the Seeing is Believing in collaboration with Standard Chartered bank Plc and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, IAPB has set objectives that are aimed at making people overcoming their eye problems.
According to him, the Seeing is Believing project is currently being implemented in some parts of the North Central, North West and South West regions of the country.
the CBM, a international non governmental organization will be monitoring the project with a local partner which is the Catholic Church through four Catholic Hospitals under rhw archdiocese of Ibadan and the dioceses of Oyo and Ijebu-ode that are noted for provision of eye care services in the country.