OSN calls for universal eye health to curb preventable blindness

Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN) has called for the full implementation of the universal eye health coverage to curb preventable blindness in the country.

OSN’s President, Dr ‘Bade Ogundipe, in a statement to mark the World Health Day said making universal eye health a reality should start with equipping every Nigerian with the necessary information to prevent needless blindness.

He said although OSN and other stakeholders are indispensable in ensuring that Nigerians enjoy eye health that is of good quality, equitably distributed and at an affordable rate, many people still suffer financial hardship when paying for eye services.

Ogundipe noted there is a significant amount of ignorance on eye problems in the country, and asked that individuals develop the right attitude towards their eye health.

“Different groups of eye health professionals have emphasised the need for regular eye checks by qualified personnel before the onset of symptoms of eye disease.

“We still encounter a significant amount of ignorance amongst our people. Even at the onset of symptoms, several Nigerians do not seek the services of eye health professionals.

“In emergency situations, some individuals still utilise harmful traditional remedies such as human urine, cow urine, herbs and root products, breast milk, kerosene, camphor, e.t.c. just to mention few. Others seek inappropriate care at patent medicine stores or local pharmacies.”

Dr Ogundipe, urged the government to provide an enabling environment for eye health professionals, required manpower and types of equipment as well as policies and guidelines to support eye health in the country.

The OSN president stated that OSN would continue to partner with the media to develop the right attitude and to achieve widespread dissemination of accurate and appropriate information.

According to him, “The widespread use of harmful traditional remedies often leads to irreversible blindness that should have been prevented through good public enlightenment and education.”

Dr Ogundipe promised continuous support of OSN members to the second phase of President Muhamadu Buhari’s Restore Vision Programme that restored sight to over 10,000 Nigerians with cataract in its first phase.

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