No fever than 200 Cameroonian refugees benefited from the free cataract surgeries carried out by the Opthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN).
The OSN offered the service to refugees at the settlement camp in Ogoja local government area of Cross River State, Nigeria.
OSN President, Dr Ayobade Ogundipe disclosed this in Calabar during the opening ceremony of the OSN 44th Scientific Conference/Annual General Meeting in Calabar.
Ogundipe said the service was designed to give the refugees a sense of belonging having been displaced from their ancestral homes during the crisis in Cameroon.
He explained that aside from the refugees, members of Ogoja community also benefited from the free eye surgeries which was part of the activities lined up for the conference.
According to him, the theme of the conference “Universal Eye Health: Leveraging on Integration, Linkages and Collaboration” was chosen to create awareness on the importance of eye care.
The President further said that the National Cataract Project of the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with OSN had restored vision to 8,000 Nigerians for free.
He explained that the project called ‘President Muhammadu Buhari Restores Vision’ was inaugurated in Feb. 2018 with the aim of restoring vision to 10,000 Nigerians who were blind because of cataract.
“As part of the activities lined up for the conference, our team visited the Cameroonian refugees camp in Ogoja were over 200 cataract surgeries were offered freely,” he said.
Speaking, Prof. Ivara Esu, Deputy Governor of the Cross River, urged the OSN to brainstorm and find solutions to contemporary eye challenges.
Esu, who called for regular eye check-up in standard hospitals, lauded OSN for shaping health policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Dennis Nkanga, the Local Organising Committee Chairman of the conference, said that the emphasis of the conference was for the actualisation of universal eye health.
“To improve equity, and give our country a chance at Universal Eye Care, we will need to unleash the vast resources of technology, teach the machine to screen for diabetes retinopathy and glaucoma.
The conference will have talks on diabetic stem cell, therapic and surgical stimulation training among others.
We have brought together some of the brightest and best minds around the world to share their novel works with us,” he said.