DANIELS G O
LAGOS MOVES TO REDUCE BLINDING EYE CONDITION AMOGST SECONDARY SCHOOL PUPILS
· Launches Secondary School Eye Program
· Trains 306 Secondary School Teachers on Eye Screening
· Installed 175 Vision Corridors
In continuation of the effort to reduce visual impairment and blinding eye conditions amongst students, particularly pupils of Secondary schools in Lagos, the State Government today launched the Secondary School Eye Health Programme; the first of its kind in Nigeria.
Speaking at the launch of the program at Oregun Junior High School, Ikeja, the State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi noted that the Secondary school eye health program is one of the strategies of the State Government through its Blindness Prevention Program to reduce the burden of childhood blindness in Lagos State.
He explained that the Secondary School Eye Health Program has four main components including; training of teachers on vision screening in all the state secondary schools starting with the junior secondary schools; installation of vision screening board in all the state secondary schools; equipping of all secondary schools with vision screening kits and management and referrals of students with eye conditions by the Blindness Preventive Team.
He said: “Vision impairment affects people of all ages and children are not left out. The leading causes of vision impairment and blindness are uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts. Visual impairment from uncorrected refractive error has immediate and long-term consequences. It can hamper performance, reduce productivity and generally impair quality of life.
“If not corrected or if the correction is inadequate, refractive error becomes a major cause of low vision and even blindness. Yet, the correction with appropriate spectacles is one of the most cost-effective interventions in eye health care.
“I would therefore like to use this medium to appeal to the students to make good use of this opportunity, get their eyes tested and report to the trained teachers and principals if any change in vision is observed”.
Abayomi enjoined teachers to also use the opportunity offered by the secondary eye health program to examine their eyes stressing that the program is for students, teachers and school staff alike.
“We are introducing this program because eye sight and hearing are one of the most important senses that we can have. Without the good eye sight and good hearing there is no way you can understand what is going on in your school, and therefore it is important that we give every child a chance because if a child cannot see or hear, we are robbing the community of the benefits of that child. We are here to change the lives of students with eye defects so that they can harness their potentials and become the best at what they do”, he said.
The Commissioner who noted that that WAEC performance of schools in Lagos has increased from 39 percent to 80 percent, attributed the excellent performance to the hard work and dedication of teachers adding the feat is a testimonial of the successes of various education policies being implemented in the State. “I can also assure you that this secondary school eye health program will further enhance the performance of our students”, Abayomi concluded.
Speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye explained that the School Eye Health Program was launched in the year 2006, and held in primary schools on IBILE basis to carry out eye screening for the pupils.
He added that the scope of the program was expanded in 2012 to include training of teachers and installation of vision screening board in all the state primary schools.
“Till date, the Primary School Eye health program has reached out to 235,515 pupils and 2,178 of these pupils have been given glasses. A total of 2002 teachers have been trained on eye screening, 1001 Schools have been equipped with vision screening kits and 859 vision corridors have been installed across Primary Schools in Lagos”, Ogboye said.
The Permanent Secretary noted that it was in furtherance of the bid to address the burden of visual impairment and ensure better blindness prevention program coverage, that secondary school eye health program was launched.
“The Secondary School Eye Health Program started with the training of teachers in the Junior Secondary schools; these training commenced last week and will be ending on the 11th February 2022. So far, 306 teachers have been trained and 175 vision corridors have been installed. It is our expectation that after the training all the teachers will be able to carry out the vision screening assessment”, he stated.
He noted that beyond the School Eye health program, the Lagos State School Health program also addresses health issues that could militate against better learning experience including componets such as the Ear Nose and Throat (ENT), Dental Care, Personal and Environmental Hygiene and Mental Health Care.
“So, we are bringing a complete school health program to our schools. Although we cannot go round the schools at once we are moving in bits we will continue to increase the number of schools and hopefully all schools will benefit from this school health programs”, he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mr. Abayomi Abolaji laud the collaboration between the Lagos State Ministries of Health and Education which resulted in the birthing of the expanded School Eye Health Program – the Secondary School Eye Health Program.
He added that the program will help alleviate the sufferings of students with visual impairments and ultimately improve the academic performance of secondary school pupils in the State. “While we appreciate this initiative, we look up to more collaboration and assistance in this direction which is geared towards making our policies in the education sector successful”, Abolaji noted.
The high point of the event was the presentation of eye glasses to students, vision screening kits to trained secondary schools teachers and unveiling of the vison corridor at the Oregun Junior High school
Director, Public Affairs
8th February, 2022