By Lawrence Olaoye
Wife of the President, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari has commended Noor Dubai Foundation for implementing the visual care agreement it signed with Aisha Buhari Foundation in 2017.
According to a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by the Director to the Wife of the President, Suleiman Haruna, the agreement was aimed at accelerating access to visual healthcare in Nigeria. She was speaking during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Foundation and Katsina State Government on Tuesday, 23rd April, 2019 at the State House, Abuja.
Mrs. Buhari said she was happy that Noor Dubai Foundation has engaged the state to run a Katsina Comprehensive Eye Care Programme as part of its philanthropic activities to Nigeria, and called on Nigerians to take advantage of these services to improve their eye health.
Earlier in the programme, the Chief Executive of Noor Dubai Foundation, Dr. Manal Muhammad Omran Taryam Al Shamsi, said the choice of Katsina resulted from a survey, which revealed that there were at least 122,000 visually impaired people in the state, out of which 24,000 were blind, while only 25% of cases benefit from surgery services.
The partnership, she said, will yield positive results because 82% of visual loss can be treated or prevented “and that is why we engaged Katsina state to implement a 4 – year sustainable comprehensive eye care programme. Katsina state government has also expressed willingness to support and sustain the programme.” She said.
Speaking on the scope of the programme, she said it will include revamping of infrastructure in 3 main hospitals, setting up of 12 vision centers and 3 optical workshops as well as supporting and equipping 250 primary care centers. The programme will also recruit and train local ophthalmologists, optometrists and ophthalmic nurses.
Also on the cards are 11,000 free cataract surgeries, 36,000 screenings and treatment for other eye disorders as well as rehabilitation support for 1000 individuals with permanent visual loss.
Speaking at the occasion, Deputy Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu said the MoU marks a great milestone in the delivery of eye care services in the state and is aimed at improving the quality of life and the socio-economic status of the people of the state through reduction of burden of blindness and visual impairment. He described this as Katsina’s effort at supporting the attainment of Universal Eye Healthcare by the Year 2020.
Minister of Health, represented by National Coordinator for Eye Health, Dr. Oteri Okolo said the Ministry is in support of such partnerships and they should be sustained, believing that the outcome of this pilot would yield positive results across the country.
The event was witnessed by the Chief Medical Director of the National Eye Center, Kaduna and other stakeholders in the eye care support sector.
As a member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation, Noor Dubai aims to fulfil the objective of Vision 2020 – The Global Initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness.