Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babtunde Ipaye, has said that the residents of the state would soon benefit from free eye surgical operation and issuance of recommended glasses to those with sight problems.
Ipaye made this known while flagging off a week programme put together by “The Collectives” a community based project that provide free eye screening and surgical operation to those with eye problem, held at Sagamu, Ogun State.
He said that the next stage of insurance scheme in the state would be very comprehensive, which the residents of the state would be involved in surgical intervention for those living with eye problem like cataract and glaucoma.
He said that over 20 thousand residents have benefited from social health insurance scheme called “Araya” where the government take care of less privilege people in the state, noted that about 24 health facilities both private and public were already enlisted, treating patients which the government paying the premium every month.
He added that people receiving anti-natal care, treatment of Malaria, hypertension, diabetes, Tuberculosis and some other common killer diseases free of charge, particularly for the children under 5 years of age and pregnant women in the state.
“Our simple approach in reaching the people of the state was we adopt “think-thank approach” where we do the supplies of drugs to the hospitals and primary health care centres across the three Senatorial districts, transfer of equipment and assessment of workforce to the appropriate hospitals, training and re-training of our health workers, and we do motivate them to be proactive”, Ipaye said.
He noted that basic eye care was also part of the “Araya” Scheme, where the state government put together all the essential primary health care component or elements and basic eye care, including issuance of recommended glasses to those who in dare need of it.
He said that there was a bill before the State House of Assembly to have a law that would make health insurance available for all the citizens of the state, where members of the public would contribute a token and government would subsidized and people would be enlisted in the social health insurance scheme called “Araya” like it’s done in advanced country.
Ipaye appreciated the members of “The Collectives” for their laudable initiative especially in the restoration of the people’s vision both through the provision of glasses and surgical operation, admonishing other non-governmantal to take a cue from The Collectives.
A Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr. Oladapo Awodein charged the government at all levels to make issue of blindness in the country as priority and matter of policy in tackling it through the provision of available, accessible and affordable eye care service from primary health care, secondary and tertiary care services.
He said vision and eye matter a lot in human life, saying that globally 38 million people being blind, half of them were from cataract and about 8 million people blind from glaucoma which was the worst of all, he said blindness from glaucoma was irreversible while blindness from cataract was reversible.
“Hence, when we have 38 million people getting blind and in Nigeria over 2 million people being blind which is quite significant, if you take the population of Nigeria being around 180 million, the ratio 2 to 180 is indeed significant”, Awodein said.
He said enabling environment should be made for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to function in partnership with the government like The Collectives, they should be recognised and appreciated.