By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-A leading ophthalmology foundation in Nigeria,Tulsi Chanrai Foundation Eye Hospital,has said 42 percent of persons of 49 years of age in the country suffer from cataract,a leading cause of blindness accounting for 43 percent .
This was as it said 7,000 persons per a million population in the African region become blind every year.
The figure, according to the foundation is 26 percent higher than other regions of the world.
The Chief Operating Officer of Tulsi Chanrai Foundation,TCF, Shravan Kumar,said this when the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire visited the foundation.
During his visit,the minister commended the efforts and contributions of Tulsi Chanrai Foundation in improving the health of Nigerians especially in eye treatment and provision of water supply for rural communities across the country.
Ehanire said he was impressed by the projects and services rendered to the public which was being done at half the cost, (50% free) in different parts of the country.
He urged the hospital management to ensure adequate arrangement to sustain the hospitals in states and also to maintenan the water bore-hole facilities built for communities.
Ehanire further told the management of Tulsi Chanrai Foundation that he would appreciate if the presentation made the group could also be submitted to the members of Hiuse Committee on Health in the National Assembly for their use.
Earlier, the Head of Projects at the Foundation, Mr. Sirinivas has said that the group plans to establish an Eye Hospital in Abuja which will serve as centre of excellence in eye for Nigeria and the rest of West Africa.
He said the hospital will help to address avoidable blondness in the country and ensure capacity building for ophthalmic personnel in the country.
Speaking on the health outreach program’me undertaken by the foundation, Sirivinas said that they have so far performed over 130,000 million eye surgeries in Nigeria.
He also said that the foundation has successfully implemented and handed over eye programmes to Imo, Adamawa and Katsina state governments
He added that the group is currently engaged in the implementation of similar eye treatment programmes in Kebbi, and Cross River states where it is targeting to perform 5,500 eye surgeries.
The minister was later taking round to inspect the 54-bed hospital facility location at Kukwaba Cadestral Zone Phase 3 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja built by the group.
Sirinivas informed the minister that the foundation was planning to expand the facility to a 100-bed hospital and to set up a training institute for eye care.