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Health experts harp on patriotism, fight against blindness


Task Nigerians on eye test, early treatment

President of the Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA), Dr. Damian Echendu has said that without a functional vision, people’s wellbeing, socio-economic and earning potential suffer.

He called for concerted efforts in providing necessary support to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) target of reducing avoidable visual impairment by 25 per cent by the year 2019.

Echendu said this yesterday in Benin City, Edo State at the NOA conference and 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM) with the theme: “Better Eye Health-Responsibility of All.”He stressed that the time was ripe for the financial sector to develop and implement strategic funding plans for eye health and address the cost of accessing adequate eye care, as well as viable lending options to facilitate the establishment and sustenance of eye care facilities.

Echendu charged healthcare stakeholders to be of patriotic and committed to eye care services and emphasised the need to inform, encourage and support members of the society in seeking proper and adequate eye care at all times.

“Government at all levels and stakeholders in the health sector must contribute their quota to drive the blindness scourge out of the country in her quest to win the war against avoidable blindness,” he stated.

The conference, which commenced with an exhibition witnessed large turnout of health professionals, participants and other guests, including Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and Deputy Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Elizabeth Ativie.

Others include an Adjunct Professor of International Eye Health in the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Prof. Hannah Faal who was keynote speaker, Professor of Optometry and Vision, University of Illorin Matthew Oriowo, and Prof. Olalekan Alabi Oduntan of the Department of Optometry, Madonna University.

Chairman, Host Organizing Committee, Oriname Odigie expressed appreciation to the members of the association for their support and Obaseki for transforming Edo into an enviable state in the country.

Meanwhile, a professor of ophthalmology, Dr. Sebastian Nwosu, has advised Nigerians to go for eye test and take early treatment to avoid blindness.Nwosu of the Guinness Eye Centre, Onitsha, attached to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi gave the advice yesterday.

He spoke on the upcoming 18th faculty lecture and endowment of the university, slated for July 14 in Onitsha.The specialist explained that the counsel became necessary to educate the public on ways to avoid blindness, warning that diabetes is a tragic disease, which people must know about.

He said: “Diabetes has become an epidemic and when it stays long in the body, it becomes complicated. The result is frequent change of eyeglasses and total blindness. If one doesn’t have eye mellitus, diabetes or high blood pressure, the person could live up to 100 years.”

In this article:
BlindnessDamian Echendu
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