From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is working assiduously to ensure that all citizens and residents of the state enjoy good health, including proactive steps in the prevention of visual impairment and treatment of other eye challenges.
The new Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr Taiwo Ladipo, made the disclosure at a press conference held in Ibadan, the state capital, on Thursday in commemoration of the 2021 World Sight Day, with the theme “Love Your Eyes”.
The programme was also used to flag off World Sight Day Walk and free screening, with the provision of glasses for civil servants, in collaboration with the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria, Lions Club International District 404B, Rotary Club International, and Global Vision Support International.
According to Ladipo, ‘the present administration is working to ensure all citizens across the state enjoys good health. We should all note that we all need to join hands in reducing the global burden of people living with eye defects. Getting involved in World Sight Day is by making a commitment to “Love Your Eyes’” Pledge to have a sight test or care for your eyes and encourage others to do the same by making a pledge too.’
He stated that in a bid to address the bigger picture of eye health in Nigeria and the global level, ‘there is need to encourage awareness of eye health, get a sight test, and recommend others to do same. Other involvements include being involved in encouraging elders, children, friends and family members about getting eye check, sponsor an eye check and glasses donations for employees, which the government of Oyo State is doing today.’
Ladipo, who noted that billions of people around the globe are functionally blind because they don’t have access to eye examination and care, stated that if the population of Nigeria is 180 million, it means 1.8million people are functionally blind based on the international acceptable percentage.
He explained that Governor Makinde had supported a series of free eye screening and treatment across different local government areas in collaboration with different partners, saying ‘free eye surgeries were carried out at Ring Road State Hospital and different local government areas. Today, we are here to help create awareness on prevention of visual impairment and treatment of other eye challenges.’
Daily Sun gathered that at least 360 persons have benefitted from free cataract operations in 2021 alone, under the Omituntun Free Health Mission of Governor Makinde, apart from the distribution of more than 3,000 eyeglasses, and eye treatment for more than 1,000 persons with the provision of free medications.
Ladipo continued: ‘Hope is not lost for people with different eye challenges for such as there is access to health services, eye challenges can be addressed. To achieve its mandate of making health one of the four cardinal priorities of the state government, an effective operating system to properly manage evolving health issues, including eye health challenges in the state is presently being put in place and the stopgap to this evolving system is the free health screening and medical services currently ongoing, where surgeries and screening are done across communities.’
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