Sight Day: 1.5m Children Targeted, 24,600 to Get Free Spectacles

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Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

In the 2017 World Sight Day, Nigeria’s target is to see to free eye treatment of not less than 1.5 million children, as well as the provision of 24,600 spectacles to children amongst other healthcare provisions.

This was revealed by the programme director of Seeing is Believing Programme, a non-governmental organisation and hosts of the national World Sight Day in Nigerian, Dr. Juliana Nathaniel, who stated that the 2017 focus is on children.

While calling on the National Assembly to give the attention that blindness deserves in the constitution, especially as it relates to children, Nathaniel said the programme which is in four clusters and targeting eleven states, seeks to provide rehabilitative care to children that are also blind so that they can have access‎ to quality education as well as being represented to become useful citizens of the country.

She advised parents to stop the harmful practice of using breast milk, salt‎ or urine in the eyes of their children as medication when redness of the eyes or other conditions arose but to promptly seek the intervention of healthcare givers.

She said: “The programme is to create awareness to the general public in order to avoid blindness and visual impairment and to increase the capacity of all healthcare workers all over the country in 11 state’s and in order to provide quality eye services to children.

“We are targeting 1.5 million children and we are going to provide services to them and we shall be collaborating with tertiary institutions to provide surgery to children that require surgery and we shall be working with a number of secondary facilities to provide about 24,600 spectacles to children free of charge and the surgeries will also be free of charge. We will also be providing a number of other services, refraction, testing amongst others.

“Data has it that 0.6 per cent of children are affected with blindness in Nigeria. However, data for eye condition is very scarce in Nigeria and the latest is that of 2006 and that was the prevalence as of that time.”

The pilot 11 states include Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Nasarawa, Plateau, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina and the FCT.