Delta State joined the rest of the world to mark the 2017 World Sight Day with Hypertension and diabetics identified as major causes of blindness just as Deltans have been advised to patronize trained professionals for their eye care.
The Delta Commissioner for Health, Dr Nicholas Azinge made the observation at Ellu, Isoko North Local Government Area, during the celebration of this year’s World Sight Day (WSD).
Dr Azinge, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Minnie Oseji, stated that people suffered avoidable blindness due to complications caused by hypertension and diabetics but gave an assurance that the Delta State Contributory Health Scheme had come to the rescue as the twin diseases were well covered by the scheme.
The Commissioner thanked the facilitators of the 2017 World Sight Day, Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN), Delta State Chapter, for its foresight in focusing on cataracts, which according to the Commissioner, was an avoidable cause of blindness, which causes about 50 percent of all cases of blindness worldwide.
He said the data that would be generated from the free eye care services put together by OSN as part of activities to mark the 2017 World Sight Day would greatly enhance statistics on eye care in the State and the Country in general.
The Chairman of the occasion and immediate past Secretary to the Government of Delta State, Comrade Ovuzuorie Macaulay thanked the OSN for using their profession to give back to society.
He called on the leadership of oil-bearing communities to utilize their share of oil revenue in boosting the wellbeing of their people, noting that as individuals, they do not necessarily have to be politicians before they could positively affect the lives of people.
While admonishing Deltans to desist from self-medication and patronage of quacks to address their eye problems, he emphasized the need the need to seek recourse from well-trained ophthalmologists.
In her welcome address, the Chairman of OSN, Delta State Chapter, and Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Delta State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Mrs Gloria Patrick-Ferife, disclosed that over 2,000 persons were screened for cataracts and surgery was done for 25, explaining that more surgeries would be carried out before the end of the free services.
The Chairman of Isoko North Local Government Council, Hon Emmanuel Egbabor, in a goodwill message, said that his administration had always supported free health programmes and promised to build on the OSN initiative.
In another goodwill massage delivered by the Zonal Coordinator of OSN, Dr Mrs Faith Ejegi, she bemoaned the rate of blindness in the society and called on the State Government to employ more Ophthalmologists, saying in a state of over five million people, only 15 Ophthalmologists were on ground in both government and private health institutions, including the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba and Delta State Teaching Hospital, Oghara.
Some of the beneficiaries thanked the OSN for the free treatment and surgeries provided them.
The ceremony featured cultural dances anchored by the Opiri Cultural Dance Group, Ellu.
World Sight Day is celebrated every second Thursday in October to create awareness on the prevention of blindness and the practice of good eye care. This year’s theme is “Universal Eye Health: Make Vision Count”.