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FG launches guideline for eye care services

….1.3m Nigerians blind

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From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Federal Government has launched a working document that will provide a guideline for eye care services to Nigerians.

This was part of activities to mark the 2023 World Sight Day with the theme “love your eyes at work” held in Abuja, on Thursday.

National Coordinator, National Eye Health Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Oteri Okolo, in her remarks at the event, explained that the documents are clear articulation for the eye health sector of the renewed hope agenda, the Federal Ministry of Health 4-point agenda and the present administrations’ drive and commitment to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

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She confirmed that no fewer than 1.3 million Nigerians have lost there sights, and about 80 per cent of the blindness are from avoidable causes.

Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, said in his remarks, that 24 million Nigerians are living with treatable sight loss, adding that the leading two causes of blindness are untreated cataract and uncorrected refractive errors.

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The Minister expressed optimism that the policy documents will build the foundations for effective delivering of necessary changes in eye care, in addition to access to eye health services for school children through school eye health programmes, establishing the potential to unlock learning for millions of children being held behind.

Dr. Alausa further said the goal of the initiative is to complement governments efforts while strengthening the eye health system to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), empowering Nigerians to learn, earn and thrive.

He said the initiative will integrate eye health services into primary healthcare services to ensure treatment of basic issues and delivery of spectacles ensuring working age people and the elderly access timely treatment and early detection and referral of those with cataracts.

The Minister said: “the interventions will be coordinated through the National Eye Health Programme (NEHP) of the Federal Ministry of Health through Short Term Philanthropy Focused Model and others.

“This model will be implemented by the NEHP in partnership with multiple stakeholders both national and international. They would undertake the expanded training of primary health workers in eye health, providing the key platform for the delivery and integration of eye care services.”

 

 

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