The Kogi State Government have
said that there are over 26,000 blind persons in the state out of which over 11,000 are due to cataract.
Dr Usman Zakari, the State Commissioner for Health made the lamentation in his briefing as part of celebration of the World Sight Day along side SightSavers, an Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) in the state.
The Sightsavers in conjunction with kogi state government has expressed their worries and determination to arrest the situation in the state.
According to him the prevalence of blindness among those aged 40 years and above in the state was estimated at 3.8: with cataract accounting for more than 42% of the problem
“There are also over 105,000 visually impaired persons among the over 40- year age group with refractive error accounting for nearly 37% of these…
“Translating this into numbers, this means there are over 26,000 blind persons in the state out of which over 11,000 are due to cataract.
“Eye health is about more than just sight – it’s about a vision of the future. Good eye health has a ripple effect, improving economic and health outcomes. If the world’s eye care needs were met, the impact would be astounding.
“Our ministry in conjunction with SightSavers have established a comprehensive, accessible, and affordable eye care services to the people of the state, across the three Senatorial Zones.
“We have offered free eyes sight services to Commercial motorcycle riders known as okada riders wielders, and others who are vulnerable to blindness due to the nature of their works.
“Already, more than 500 free Eye Glasses have been distracted to these set of people to help address their eye challenges, ” he said
He said that the Kogi Eye Care Project would focus on demonstrating scalable approach toward the establishment of health system strengthening by establishing a well-co-ordinated eye care services and linkages with Primary Health Care (PHC) system in Kogi.
According to him,Eye Care services is being implemented in four local government areas: Ankpa, Kabba, Okene and Idah, with two static and two and 3 month outreach centres
He added: “Due to manpower gap, the state has nominated two Doctors as well as Ophthalmologist for a 3-month refresher training course at University of Ilorin teaching Hospital, Kwara State.”
The commissioner said that as part of the activity lined up for this year’s celebration, the Kogi Eye Care Steering committee identified some non-formal sectors such as Welders, Okada Riders, and Sawmillers whose eye health are endangered by their occupation.
He said that Eye screening was done by the eye care personnels within the state and these people will be provided with more free reading glasses and goggles to protect their eyes at work.
“We also had a road show today which is to further create awareness of the theme, “Love your eyes at work.”
“There will be further eye screening at the static centers and within the state capital by the eye care personnel to round up this year’s celebration of World Sight Day in Kogi, ” he said.
Also speaking,the State Head of Service, Mrs Hannah Odiyo, said that the eye is very important to the body and must be protected by all.
Represented by the permanent secretary of HOS, Barrister Akpam Obadiah, said the eye is the window of the body and if carelessly handle what will happen to us will be beyond imagination.
“Some of the eye problems come silently, so whatever the ministry and SightSavers can do to sensitise the public on this, please go ahead and do it for good of our citizens, ” she pleaded.