Few foundations in the country, if any, have impacted lives in the land, the way and manner the TY Danjuma Foundation, owned by General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), has done in the past decade. For a foundation dedicated to service delivery in the thematic areas of health and education, successive administrations would take a look at the with pride, given the enormous resources it has committed in alleviating the plight of the vulnerable in the society in the past ten years.
Although the full story of the foundation is yet to be told as it looks towards celebrating its 10th year anniversary, it has, in the past few years, provided funding, training and other logistics for the Care Vision Support Initiative (CAVSI), a Non-Governmental Organization based in Jos, Plateau State, which has indeed made a mark for itself in providing free eye surgeries and distribution of medicated glasses to scores of thousands of Nigerians spread across the six geo-political zones of the country.
With this support, the foundation has without wavering, empowered CAVSI in multiple medical outreaches in urban and rural dwellings, making it possible for thousands of impoverished Nigerians to get treated free of charge of such eye ailments as cataract, Bilamellar Tarsal Rotation (BTR), Pterygium excisions to mention but a few.
CAVSI over the years through funding and support from the TY Danjuma Foundation intervened in preventing blindness in Nigeria and more specifically in Taraba and Edo states by operating on cataract cases in adults and children, providing refractive error screening and correction through issuance of free medicated glasses to those in need. Furthermore, CAVSI has also been providing treatment for common eye conditions by giving free potent and quality eye medications as well as capacity building of primary health care workers and ophthalmic nurses at the primary eye care level.
Blindness, as we know, is becoming a growing concern for rural dwellers in some parts of Northern Nigeria especially for those with poor access to clean drinking water. In most cases, eye infections are often treated trado-medically despite repeated warnings by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the dangers of patronising ill-trained medical personnel. Worrisome still however, is that the level of awareness is abysmally low, leaving the fate of those suffering from one eye ailment or the other at the mercy of native healers whose only “medical certification” is that their forebears were traditional healers. Needless to state here that many have gone blind owing solely to lack of medical attention made worse by poverty that over the years, has become second nature to millions of Nigerians.
Yet, in this seemingly despondency, some have different stories to tell; stories that mirror heavenly miracles brought down to earth to take shape and form. It is the story of rare philanthropy, exemplified by the TY Danjuma Foundation in giving hope to the hopeless and vision to those on the verge of losing their sight.
One of these miraculous stories of TY Danjuma Foundation’s consistent funding of primary eye care intervention is that of Mr. Danlami Agyo from Plateau State, whose family of six, four children and wife, all suffering from bilateral congenital cataract, a visual impairment caused largely by inherited traits and in some instances, undetermined factors.
Through the support and funding from the foundation, CAVSI was able to restore the vision of all five members of the family through specialized cataract surgery conducted at the Jos University Teaching Hospital. Following the surgery, the children’s sights were restored, much to the relief of Mr. Agyo. The kids are back in school, looking once again to a glorious future of their dreams. Needless to say, this intervention has given these children a life time opportunity to be educated and contribute to the society while their mother following the restoration of her sight, has picked up her hoe and cutlass, in continuation of her subsistence farming to help put food on the table and with disposable cash (no matter how little) to purchase essential commodities.
An elated Mr. Agyo basking in the euphoria the treatment of his family fetched him had this to say: “Thank you TY Danjuma Foundation, thank you CAVSI. I don’t know what to say because when we thought it was all over, you gave us a reason to believe there is life.
There are also many other beneficiaries who had bilateral cataract extraction who before the intervention of TY Danjuma Foundation-backed CAVSI response had no idea of how and where they would get treated of their eye ailments. Those who knew a thing or two about getting medical solution in most instances were too poor to afford same and therefore stayed in their homes, in painful wait for the inevitable. The impact of restored vision cannot be quantified, given the liberty of movement those who only yesterday relied on help, now enjoy. It is akin to a woman who after years of miscarriages, suddenly get delivered of a child of her own. How great is her happiness!
TY Danjuma Foundation’s partnership with CAVSI must therefore be seen in the light of access it has facilitated to quality eye care service delivery in addition to funding running into millions of naira, it has sustained over the years.
- Forje writes from Abuja