By Francis Sardauna
No fewer than 1,039 cataract patients have benefited from free eye surgery sponsored by a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Noor Dubai Foundation, in collaboration with the Katsina State Government.
One of the patients, Garba Nuhu Ruma, said he was diagnosed in 2018, but it was difficult for him to raise the money for the surgery.
The 47-year-old Ruma, who was visibly overwhelmed, added: “I have been suffering from blindness for about two years and some months now, but with this surgery by Noor Dubai foundation, I have regained my sight.
“If not for the assistance of the foundation, my wife and I could not raise the money for the cataract surgery that I was diagnosed of in October 2018. The foundation carried out the surgery on me free of charge.”
While narrating their ordeal, another beneficiary, Ramatu Yusuf, 12, said: “Uncle I can see you and other people clearly now.” That was her first utterance after doctors removed the bandages from her eyes.
Her Uncle, Zubairu Shuibu, said: “She was three year old when we noticed that she couldn’t see, and since then, she couldn’t go to school. But now she can start schooling. We thank the foundation for the free service, may Allah will bless them.”
Speaking during the surgery at the Katsina State Eye Care Centre at the weekend, the representative of the foundation, Dr. Rabiu Mansour, said the foundation had so far conducted 1,039 cataract surgeries and eye screening for 5,238 patients in Katsina, Daura and Funtua general hospitals within four months.
He added that 2,313 visually impaired persons have been treated with medications or eye glasses, adding that six ophthalmologists and optometrists as well as one optician have been employed to boost efficient service delivery.
“In line with Noor Dubai Foundation’s new strategic plan, it set up a four-year (2019-2023) integrated and sustainable comprehensive eye care programme in partnership with the Katsina State Government. In addition, a Nigerian office of the Noor Dubai Foundation has been set up in Katsina,” he stated.