The Ministry of Health with the support of the University of Calabar has commenced free test, treatment and surgeries on Nigerians suffering from glaucoma.
The Commissioner for Health in Cross River State, Dr. Inyang Asibong said the free test, treatment and surgeries to Nigerians living within the State is in commemoration of the World Glaucoma week.
Asibong, who flagged off the exercise, said that the test and treatment would have a ceremonial end on Saturday, March 16, 2019.She said that the ministry was concerned by the seeming inability of the public to access its free facilities, noting “Cross River State has a free eye care program at the General Hospital, Calabar, where we have carried out over 32,000 free eye surgeries on Cataract and Glaucoma sufferers.”
“We need the people to come out, knowing they would not pay a dime for the treatment or surgeries. That is why we have the team from the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital led by Dr. Agbor and Professor Affiong Ibanga here to render free services,” Asibong said.
Dr. Asibong said the efforts by the ministry and eye care specialist was to reduce the incidences of blindness among adults within a certain age limit.
“Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve of the eye, which is basically the structure that relays what the eye sees to the brain. If left untreated, continued damage to this structure may lead to visual field defects, visual impairment usually noticed as foggy or cloudy vision, and complete blindness,” She noted.
Since the States Free Eye Care Programme started, the Commissioner stated that, “we have been able to enable Nigerians, irrespective of tribe or ethnic or religious affiliations have their sight restored.”
“In a situation where there are more than 1.8 million Nigerians of over 40 years suffering from glaucoma with almost 360,000 of them going blind, it becomes necessary for us to reach our communities with our message and treatment options and that we have done through our community health workers, traditional leaders and religious organisations,” said Asibong.
The Commissioner added that after the ceremonial end, those selected for surgery would be treated under the Cross River Free Eye Care Programme.