No fewer than 200 people have benefitted from the latest phase of the Lagos State Government sponsored Free Eye Surgery Outreach programme; a programme aimed at improving the quality of life of the beneficiaries by restoring their vision through surgical intervention.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris who visited the latest set of beneficiaries at the General Hospital, BADAGRY venue of the surgical intervention stated the programme is significant and defining in the lives of citizens who suffer from eye ailments requiring surgery like cataract and pterygium.
Idris who was represented by the Director, Medical Administration, Training and Programmes in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Funmilayo Shokunbi added that free eyes screening and surgery outreach programme is one of the Ministry of Health’s blindness prevention programme activities to reduce avoidable blindness in Lagos.
Said he, “75% of blindness all over the world can actually be prevented or treated, and the main causes of avoidable blindness and serious visual loss are uncorrected refractive errors, un-operated cataract amongst others.
“This is why the Lagos State government through the Ministry of Health is intensifying its blindness prevention programme activities which include community outreaches, school eye screening programme, free surgical interventions and provision of free eye glasses and medication in-order to reduced avoidable blindness in the State”.
The Commissioner explained that the Ministry of Health in its quest to reduce avoidable blindness had visited six local government areas since the beginning of the year on blindness prevention screening and awareness outreaches, adding that public schools have also been visited while free corrective eye glasses have been given to pupils who require them to aid their vision.
While urging the latest set of beneficiaries to take good care of their eyes, he stressed that post-operative care is as important as the surgery they have undergone. He thereafter encouraged them to visit the health facility they have been referred to for follow up care.
“Do not engage in strenuous activities; avoid bending down, robbing your eyes and using un-prescribed medications. Adopting good personal hygiene and environmental sanitation is key in the process to full recovery”, he noted.
The commissioner also explained that while the services provided to the patients through the eye surgery outreach programme are free, they are however not free to government as they are funded by tax payer’s money to bring succor to patients that cannot afford the cost of treatment.
The Medical Director, Badagry General Hospital, Dr. Opeyemi Aihonsu who also spoke at the event noted that General Hospital Badagry has an eye clinic that has been standardized and equipped such that all services required for investigations, medical and surgical treatment of common blinding conditions can be accessed.
While giving kudos to the Lagos State Governor for supporting the drive to ensure reduction of avoidable blindness in the State, Dr. Aihonsu noted that the eye unit in Badagry Hospital has competent personnel who can take care of the post-operative management of patients that have been operated on.
“We have consultant ophthalmologist, optometrists, ophthalmic nurses and other eye care staff and we make bold to say we are ready to take care of the post-operative management of patient referred to us for follow up”, he said.
One of the beneficiaries of the programme, Mr. Sanni Sonayon Rilwan thanked the State government for coming to their aid and offering them succor. He stated that the gesture is a reminder that people in far-to reach-areas are not left out in the government of inclusion championed by Governor Ambode.
He added that it was an endless wait for him to source for money for an eye surgery as the cost was too high for him to afford, adding that the free surgery programme has put an end to his long wait and restored his vision.