An ophthalmologist at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, UITH, Dupe Ademola-Popoola, has said that seven out of ten blind people in Kwara State were blind from childhood.
According to the ophthalmologist, a survey of 100 blind people carried out in the state suggested kept in that condition till they were old enough to come out to beg for a living.
Mrs. Ademola-Popoola made this disclosure on Wednesday in Ilorin at a vision screening and immunisation programme held at the Government Hospital in Centre-Igboro, Ilorin.
She explained further that the state government has enacted a law that makes vision screening compulsory for children under five years. She said because of this and other efforts of the state government, the USAID has shown interest in the screening project and donated equipment worth thousands of dollars.
The ophthalmologist also disclosed that four health facilities have been designated as centres for the vision screening of children, adding that these centres would also act as training of staff as well as centres for prevention of blindness and enhancement of sight.
In her reaction, wife of Kwara state Governor, Omolewa Ahmed, advocated a law that
will enforce compulsory vision screening for children before enrolment in government schools.
Mrs. Ahmed, who was at the hospital to facilitate immunisation and vision screening exercise, stated that under the proposed law, ministries in the state would be made to key into the programme of vision screening for Kwara children to ensure preventable blindness.
She also encouraged mothers to take children to immunisation centres and also undergo vision screening as it is free of charge.
“Vision is important and we must ensure that out of negligence or ignorance our children are not exposed to blindness when we can take them for screening and get help,” she said.
Mrs. Ahmed, however, noted that some of the cases of blindness are avoidable.