Residents of Lokoja were charged by the Kogi state government to practice the habit of maintenance and protection of healthy eyes, which will enable them to contribute to the development of the state and Nigeria. The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Usman Zakari, openly advised and emphasized the need for protection of healthy eyes to the people, while he was delivering his statement in his office in Lokoja, at a news conference, in celebration of the World Sight Day.
Zakari stated that the administration of Gov. Yahaya Bello had been taking some measures to apprehend the factors and rising cases of blindness, in the state. Also, he said that the idea of eye health or maintenance of healthy eye is about a vision of the future, and not just about human sight itself. Likewise, he added that the maintenance of good eye health has great health outcomes which further improves the economy, through its ripple effect.
More than 105,000 people were diagnosed to be visually impaired.
Furthermore, he stated that if the needs of the eye care globally were provided, the impact and effect would have been amazing. He highlighted the major causes of human blindness, which were discovered, to include Cataract, hypertension, and diabetes. Hence, urgent measures to apprehend these causes have to be observed by the people. Therefore, these diseases that are responsible for blindness have to be guarded against by citizens to prevent increasing cases of the condition within the state.
Also, Zakari said that there has been prevalence of blindness in the state among people aged 40 years old and above. This report, statistically, showed that an estimate of 42 percent of visual impairment and eye problems were attributed to cataracts. Also, more than 105,000 people were diagnosed to be visually impaired among the population of the 40+ years age group. The eye problem was also diagnosed alongside refractive error which accounted for almost 37 percent.
500 free eye glasses were given to affected people in the state.
Statistically, in the state, there are more than 26,000 blind people with more than 11,000 of them caused by cataract. He announced that SightSavers and the ministry have founded an affordable, accessible and comprehensive eye care service across the three senatorial zones to the people of Kogi state. Also, the collaboration between the two bodies has led to the offering of free eye sight services to welders, commercial motorcycle riders (also known as okada riders) and others, who were exposed to the factors that cause blindness.
Commercial workers who are vulnerable to the risk of visual impairment, as a result of their working environments, were given free eye sight services. More so, he announced that 500 free eye glasses were given to the people that are visually impaired to serve as correction to their eye challenges. Relatively, he said that the Kogi Eye Care Project will be focused on the demonstration of scalable approach to build health system resilience, which would happen through the establishment of well co-ordinated eye care services and linkages with the Primary Health Care (PHC) system in Kogi.
Residents should maintain healthy eyesight during daily activities.
According to him, implementation of eye care services are being carried out in Idah, Okene, Kabba and Ankpa local government area. These efforts are to foster the maintenance of healthy eye sight among the residents during their daily activities. He disclosed that some non-formal sectors, such as sawmillers, Okada riders, and welders whose eye health were at risk due to their professions were identified by the Kogi Eye Care Steering Committee for free eyes services. Succinctly, the NGO for humanitarian services, SightSavers, was commended by Zakari for their committed services to the residents of Kogi state.