We started our annual outreach program on the 26th May 2017. As with previous outreach programs our focus remained on eye care; treatment of minor ailments, dispensation of reading glasses.
Some ask why vision? Visual impairment tends to have a domino effect on close relations and friends of the patient. Menial tasks become hurdles, most lose their source of income, is a huge barrier to education and leads families to a life of poverty. As Nigerians we are confronted with blindness every day of our lives with thousands begging on the street. The economic loss to blindness is huge and 80% of it is either preventable or treatable.
Our aim this year was to increase operational efficiency. The foundation signed an MOU with the National Eye Center (NEC) this ensured we had doctors and nurses on duty as early as 9am, cataract surgery was carried out on weekly basis and our overall output was increased.
The current recession has made affordable healthcare even more difficult. Patients are in desperate need of help. The program is a beacon of hope for many who otherwise cannot afford or do not have access to adequate eye care.
We saw 3274 females, 2733 males, gave out 1500 reading glasses and surgery for 254 eyes. Due to the new method of having surgeries every weekend we saw a huge influx of cataract patients and surgeries we done on a first come first serve basis. Patients with high blood pressure or diabetes had their surgeries postponed through NEC clinic with AMA providing the consumables. The pediatric cases are scheduled for a later date and will be paid for by the foundation.
Our focus on preventable blindness is to give hope where many thought of it lost. To help the young 16 year old with traumatic cataract see with both eyes, to put a smile on the old mans face as he goes to the toilet on his own, to enable the old lady see her latest grandchild and last but not least to allow the guides have a life of their own. The young grandson can go to school, the son or daughter can go to work thus providing for the family. Ultimately, let the ripple effect be positive!