An NGO, Smile Mission Health Care (SMHC), on Monday, began free eye treatment and surgeries  to 5,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Borno suffering from  eye problems.

The coordinator of the NGO, Dr Abba Saleh,disclosed this  at the inauguration of the exercise at the Eye Hospital in Maiduguri.

Saleh said that the outreach planned to perform surgeries on cataract for 1,000 people while 2,500 would be screened and given medication.

He said that 1,500 people with minor cases would be given eye glasses at the end of the  exercise.

According to Saleh, about N25 million has been spent on the exercise.

He said that the clients were selected from  the IDP camps and from communities of Maiduguri and Jere  local  council areas.

He explained that the exercise was being  conducted in partnership with the International Islamic Relief Organisation(IIRO), PCNI,and  the  Borno State Ministry of Health.

Others are the  Kano Coalition of Ulama, Muslim World League and Education Support Foundation.

“We started this programme  after visiting IDP camps where we realised that many people  were visually impaired.

“They cannot see well while some of them are blind but it is actually reversible blindness that they are having.

“As a result,  we said why can’t we give these  people the opportunity  see again and the hope to life.

“It is believedu that if somebody is blind,  it will reduced his life span by 50 per cent.

“So, as you can see we are targeting 300 persons on daily basis.

“We have already screened and treated about 100 people  for various eye problems such as conjunctivitis, glaucoma and tricoma.

“We are also going to do follow ups after the exercise to ensure that they are stabilised,”he said.

Also speaking, Yagana Gujuba, an IDP, commended the organisation for treating her eyes.

Gujuba said that she could hardly see anything that was  close to her but with the operation, she can now see clearly.

“My eyes are  no longer itching me, I can now see clearly. Thank you very much,”she said.

The Medical Director of the Borno State Eye Hospital,Mrs Fatima Abb-Kyari, said the hospital had deployed its medical personnel for the exercise.

“We are supporting the NGO with our facilities, surgical ward so that the patients can be admitted before the surgeries.

“We have  also offered them some of our medical personnel to enhance the smooth conduct of the excercise,”she said.



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