Ophthalmologists Seek More Funding To Tackle Blindness
The Ophthalmologists Society of Nigeria has blamed the rate of blindness in Nigeria on lack of adequate funding by government and inadequate manpower in the health sector.
The association said rising cases of eye diseases such as cataract and glaucoma have also impacted negatively on individual’s economy, the family and the society at large.
They warned that more Nigerians are likely to go blind if nothing is urgently done to correct the situation.
Speaking at the 42nd Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the society held in Kaduna State, its President, Professor Sebastian Nwosu, lamented that the level of cataract cases was disturbing even when the disease was treatable.
He, however, called on all tiers of government to support the fight against blindness by voting enough funds into the health sector, and urged the public to always go for routine eye screening and treatment.
On his part, President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Mike Ogirima, expressed concern over the poor budgetary allocation to the health sector.
Dr Ogirima said Nigeria has only about 300 ophthalmologists to care for the over 170 million population, a number which he said was totally unacceptable if government must make progress in reducing blindness in the country.
The deputy governor of Kaduna State, who represented Governor Nasir El-Rufai at the meeting on Saturday, urged members of the association to take proactive measures in reducing the prevalence of blindness in Nigeria.
He said the Kaduna State government would continue to partner with the association and other care givers in its effort to preserve and restore vision in the state.
The conference has the theme: “Sustainable Development Goals and Eye Care Delivery in Nigeria”.
It was organised to bring together eye specialists within and outside the country to share their experience and brainstorm on an effective eye care delivery programme for sustainable national growth.
According to a research conducted by the association in 2008, no fewer than one million Nigerians suffer one form of blindness or the other.
Out of this figure, 50 per cent are caused by cataract while glaucoma and other factors are responsible for the remaining percentage.