Preventable blindness: Rotary club seeks philanthropists’ support to reverse trend

THE President of Rotary Club of Ibadan, Jericho Metro District 9125, Mrs Bisi Yomi-Layinka, has solicited the support of philanthropists, corporate organisations and well-meaning Nigerians, to reverse the trend of preventable blindness in the country.

Yomi-Layinka made the appeal during a community eye outreach conducted by the club in Kuola, Apata area of Ibadan.

The outreach, which involved free eye screening, cataract treatment, surgery and drugs, was conducted by the club in collaboration with the Opthalmology Department of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Kakanfo Inn and Conference Centre.

Yomi-Layinka said the support, would help Rotarians’ reach out to more people with limited access to quality and timely healthcare.

According to her, the Rotary Club is made up of professionals of diverse professions that work in communities to bring succour to them.

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“We have had this programme for five years in partnership with UCH and Kakanfo Inn, in schools and communities.

“Since inception, about 5,000 people have benefitted from the programme, with 20 participants benefitting from our free cataract surgeries.

“Today, we are looking to screen a minimum of 50 persons while two participants will benefit from the free Cataract operation.

“Two identified beneficiaries will be expected to follow the team to UCH today to enable the operation to be done tomorrow.

“Members of the club would continue to undertake meaningful initiatives that would impact positively on the lives of people, especially in rural areas.

“We seize this opportunity to call on other individuals and corporate organisations to join hands with us by sponsoring this project, so it can reach more communities and a wider audience,’’ she said.

Also, a Chief Nursing Officer at the UCH Community Eye Outreach Department, Mrs Grace Illuyomade, said that cataract and glaucoma were two leading causes of preventable blindness in the country.

Illuyomade said that the public health burden of preventable blindness remained cumbersome due to lack of easy access to healthcare, untimely medical intervention caused by poverty and low level of public awareness.

“Preventable blindness is blindness which could be either treated or prevented by known means.

“Although, there are many other causes of vision loss, glaucoma and cataract are the two leading causes in the country.

“We are appealing to philanthropists and well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of these indigent patients, many of whom cannot afford surgical fees, and this has resulted in blindness in many cases,’’ she said.

Illuyomade said that collaborative support would also boost the efforts of community eye outreach to provide quality medical care and intervention in hard to reach rural areas.

According to her, by helping to improve the lives of people in rural areas, the outreach will solve the problem of preventable blindness in rural communities.

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