By: Simon Ushie.
As Cross River State join the rest of the world to mark world sight day, the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency Dr Janet Ekpenyong has Called on all citizens to consider regular eye check-up part of their yearly and routine of health management practices.
She made the call in Calabar during an interactive section with members of the Cross River State optometrists Association in her office who came to seek for improved partnership between the group and the Agency.
Dr Ekpenyong said aside the flourishing business of quackery by some unlicenced eyes service providers, enlighnment should as well be carried out in all villages to ensure that people don’t compromise the quality of their sights by the use of unhygienic objects and unprescribed substances.
“People should begin to make conscious efforts in checking their eyes as often as possible, One of the challenges people face is lack of proper information on how to manage their eyes and that is why we are excited to partner with your organization to help improve the services in our various communities all across the 196 wards in the state.Over the years,many quacks and unlicenced people have extorted from our people ,and that is why we always demand for written approval and clearance from your body before anyone is allowed to offer any service using our facility.
Leading the team to the DGs office, the President of the Nigerian Optometric Association, Cross River State Chapter, Dr Onyebuchi Ndukwe described the eyes as the window to the world and if not well taken care of could cause severe damages within a short period of time .
Dr Ndukwe said the Association chose to partner with the Agency because of the laudable achievements of the Director General in the last few months as well as her numerous grassroot oriented projects which has brought succor to the lives of many people across the State.
He therefore seek for the establishment of a more robust working relationship which will promote eye care services in various Communities.
“There is need therefore to make eye care services available in our Primary Health Centres which are closer to the people and can serve as centres for health promotion (Eye services)and points of referrals for those that need further management”.
He listed glaucoma to be the world’s leading cause of blindness especially in sub Saharan Africa which he said early examination and detection could help prevent a life time damage to the affected eyes.
Some of the consensus met at the end of the meeting include:
To partner in order to raise awareness on signs, symptoms, ways to dictate and management procedures of eye related issues.
Work in harmony to check and limit the activities of quackery in the state.
To regulate charges levied on patients during outreaches
To set up 196 eye care centres across the 196 political wards in the State.
The world sight day is celebrated on the second Thursday of every year’s October to raise awareness on the importance of eye care management,(Blindness and Vision Impairment) with this year’s theme christened “Hope In Sight”.
Currently there are said to be over a billion people people living with total or partial blindness, a figure which could double it’s figure in the nearest future if proper self management and assisted care is not stepped up especially in rural Communities.
Some common Causes of vision impairments and blindness may include but not limited to diseases like diabetes and trachoma, trauma to the eyes, or conditions such as refractive error, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma with people over 50 years of age being the most Vulnerable.