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FG commits to ending diabetic retinopathy, irreversible blindness

By Michael Egbejule, Benin City
23 August 2022   |   12:25 pm
The Federal Government on Wednesday expressed commitment to tackling the problems that are linked to diabetic retinopathy which is one of the complications of long-standing diabetes mellitus. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the…

A cross section of the Technical Working Group for Diabetic Retinopathy with Prof Afekhide Ernest Omoti, Chairman National Eye Health Committee.

The Federal Government on Wednesday expressed commitment to tackling the problems that are linked to diabetic retinopathy which is one of the complications of long-standing diabetes mellitus.

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye (retina).

The chairman of the National Eye Health Committee, Prof. Afekhide Omoti, while speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of a technical workshop made up of experts on diabetic care and diabetic retinopathy organised by the Federal Ministry of Health stated that about one in every 17 adults above 40years living in Nigeria has the chances of being diabetic.

While alluding to the fact that 10% of these adults will have Diabetic Retinopathy, the medical expert said diabetic retinopathy which is one of the complications arising from diabetes develops over a period of time and can only be detected if routine screening is done by a qualified and competent eye doctor.

“This is because the disease may be on going and will never show any sign till profound damage that may cause irreversible blindness has been done to the eyes,” Omoti said.

He encouraged persons receiving treatment for diabetes to always seek eye examination by asking their doctors treating them for diabetes to refer them to see the eye doctor.

Omoti further stated that in spite of the budgetary constraints occasioned by the economic downturn globally, the Nigerian government is doing its best to deliver on its promises and also cater to the healthcare needs of its citizens.

Explaining that diabetic retinopathy which is a leading cause of avoidable blindness in the working class population is being tackled by the government of Nigeria, he said, “These efforts, I believe will curb poverty as enshrined in SDG 1 as well as having a productive workforce contributing to the GDP of the Nation optimally. This is because federal government of Nigeria through the Health Ministry under the able Leadership of the Honourable Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire has decided to make this as one of the key priority areas of the ministry through the National Eye Programme within the department of public health. ”

He thanked Eye Foundation Hospital Group for the support given to the project and called on other private organisations, NGDOs, and development partners to collaborate with the government in these Laudable efforts to curb diabetic retinopathy.