…Laments Dearth of Specialists, Eye Care Facilities
By Femi Bolaji
Cataract has been identified as the leading cause of blindness in Taraba state. An Ophthalmologist who practices in the state, Dr. Gideon Avar, spoke Monday, at the grand opening of a private eye treatment facility, Nobis VIP eye clinic, in Jalingo, the state capital.
He said of the 3000 eye surgery conducted in the facility yearly, cataract accounts for 2000.
He says the North East, according to the National blindness and vision impairment survey, is at a major disadvantage with the scarcity of eye treatment centers and specialists.
He further noted that private eye care facilities in Taraba state supply more data for eye care coverage, than government-owned facilities, thus calling on the government to do more in this aspect.
According to him, “the Nigeria national and visual impairment survey of 2005-2007 placed the North East as one of the lowest developed sub-region in terms of eye care because of less manpower and facilities.
“And looking at Taraba state, we have few eye hospitals with few ophthalmologists and ophthalmic nurses.
“And in the last stakeholders meeting we held in the state, the surgical output from private practice gives more data than government facilities in terms of eye care coverage.
“However, from our experience, the leading cause of blindness in Taraba state and even the world over is Cataract.
“But the good news is that it is curable through cataract surgery.
“In this facility, we conduct 3000 eye surgery for patients from Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, and Nasarawa yearly and cataract accounts for about 2000.”
He further urged residents of the state to regularly check their eyes, adding that glaucoma is currently on the rise.
The Chairperson, Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Taraba state chapter, Dr. Nkantah Edet, called for collaboration between the government and private eye care facilities in the state to reach more people at little or no cost.