PUBLISHER: DANIELS G.O
LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
200 PEOPLE BENEFITS FROM LAGOS FREE EYE SURGERY PROGRAMME
….As Part of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s Promise to Increase Access to Eye Care Services
No fewer than 200 Lagos residents from Epe and Badagry divisions of Lagos have benefitted from a free eye surgical expedition programme sponsored by the Lagos State Government as part of efforts to reduce blinding eye conditions amongst residents.
The surgical exercise which was carried out between Tuesday 6th and Thursday 8th December, 2022 in partnership with a leading eye care foundation, the Indo Eye Care Foundation was preceded by a screening exercise where over a thousand people were screened for varying blinding conditions.
Speaking during his visit to the screening site today, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye explained that the Lagos State Government regularly embarked eye care outreaches to communities as part of effort to improve access to good eye care services and prevent avoidable blindness.
In his words: “What we are trying to do is to prevent avoidable blindness in people so that people get access to good eye health care services irrespective of their financial status. People who will otherwise be blind, can have their sight restored through simple surgeries which we are providing free of charge, these surgeries is funded by the State government under the leadership of our dear Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu who is ensuring that no one is left behind in the State healthcare system”.
Ogboye further explained that the free surgical expedition programme is targeted at addressing cataract and Pterygium excision which are amongst the leading cause of blindness, vision loss and eye impairment worldwide adding that the programme is fulfilment of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s promise to increase access to qualitative eye health care services in Lagos communities.
“A lot of eye disorders are preventable and a lot of them are also treatable. So it is sad when people are handicapped or incapacitated by problems that can be solved. Sometimes they are also aware that they can be solved but they don’t just have the money to address it, so people live with blinding eye conditions when a simple corrective surgery can be done to deal with the problem.
“That is what we are trying to do, to put light into people’s lives by restoring their sight. We are reaching all the local government areas with this free eye screening and surgical expedition using five Lagos divisions called the IBILE divisions, we have done two divisions earlier, we are currently doing Badagry and Epe division during this expedition, and we will get to others soon”, the Permanent Secretary said.
He disclosed that the surgical expedition will be an annual programme adding that the Lagos State Government will continue to partner with Indo Eye Care Foundation to bring succor to residents in dire need of the surgical intervention for sight restoration.
“We intend to take on more people each year, especially with the support of Indo Eye Foundation. We can take a certain number, and with their help, we can expand that number and improve on the number of people we are dealing with, and this is something that is very important to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, He has insisted that we take this service to every nook and crannies of this state to reduce and eliminate blindness”, the Permanent Secretary stated.
He noted that medical expeditions are part of the Ministry’s strategies through outreaches to support the routine health care system targeting specific populations who cannot afford treatment for eye health care services.
“Sometimes people get missed and also people get lost in the routine health system. This is a way to come out of the system and do this outreaches especially because it is targeted at people that cannot afford treatment in the normal system, and so it is a supportive service to the system and not in any way to replace the system”, Ogboye said.
He urged citizens to get their eyes checked at least once every year especially if 40 and above. “Get an eye check done, and if there is any problem affecting your vision don’t assume it is just age, go and see a doctor let them see what it is and see if it is something they can correct or at least manage”.
Speaking in the same vein, the Director, Medical Administration, Training and Programs in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Olunmilayo Shokunbi explained that the Blindness Prevention Program Unit in the Ministry of Health which is saddled with the responsibility of reducing blindness among the citizens of Lagos State is responsible for free surgical expedition this program.
She disclosed that Ikorodu and Lagos divisions had earlier benefitted from the surgery programme in October adding that the outreach team will move to other divisions in the course of the expedition.
“The leading causes of this visual impairment and blindness include uncorrected refractive errors and cataract and that is why we are here. What we are doing today is performing surgery at no cost to as many people that have cataract, it is a surgery that is less than 30 minutes. There is no harm in doing surgery, if you don’t have any other irreversible eye condition, you will see better after your cataract surgery”, She stated.
One of the beneficiaries of the surgery programme, Abdul-Fatai Shabi, a resident of Epe local government, thanked the Lagos State Government for the intervention which has brought succor to many like him in the State.
He said: “The team came to Epe to inform us that something like this will come up appealing to people with eye problems to come for screening. I am very happy I can see, read and do things on my own without aid. I am very happy particularly because I have been facing this problem for a long time, but I am thankful that the Lagos State Government thought it wise to come to our aid and put smiles back on our faces. We are very grateful”
Director, Public Affairs
8th December, 2022