The Lagos State Government has launched the secondary school eye health programme to reduce visual impairment and blinding eye conditions among students.
The programme, which was launched on Tuesday at Oregun Junior High School, Ikeja, is an initiative of the state government through its blindness prevention programme to reduce the burden of childhood blindness in the state.
Speaking at the launch, the state Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, explained that the programme involves four main components which include; training of teachers on vision screening, installation of vision screening board, equipping of all secondary schools with vision screening kits and referrals of students with eye conditions by the blindness preventive team.
The commissioner noted that the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness are uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts, which he noted can hamper performance, reduce productivity, and generally impair quality of life.
“If not corrected or if the correction is inadequate, the refractive error becomes a major cause of low vision and even blindness. Yet, the correction with appropriate spectacles is one of the most cost-effective interventions in eye health care,” he said.
The Eye Programme
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Olusegun Ogboye, noted that the school eye health programme was launched in 2006 to carry out eye screening for pupils in primary schools.
He added that the programme, which was expanded in 2012, has reached 235,515 pupils with 2,178 pupils presented with eyeglasses, and a total of 2,002 teachers trained on eye screening; 1,001 schools equipped with vision screening kits, and 859 vision corridors installed across primary schools in Lagos.
However, he said the new eye programme in secondary schools started with the training of teachers and that it will end on February 11, 2022.
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“So far, 306 teachers have been trained and 175 vision corridors have been installed. We expect that after the training all the teachers will be able to carry out the vision screening assessment,” Mr Ogboye said.
Other health issues
Speaking further, Mr Ogboye said the Lagos State school health programme also addresses health issues that could militate against better learning experience, such as the Ear Nose and Throat (ENT), dental care, personal and environmental hygiene, and mental health care.
He added that the programme will help alleviate the suffering of students and ultimately improve the academic performance of secondary school students in the state.
The permanent secretary in the ministry of education, Abayomi Abolaji, lauded the collaboration between his ministry and that of health, adding that the programme will help alleviate the sufferings of students with visual impairments and ultimately improve the academic performance of secondary school students in the state.
“While we appreciate this initiative, we look up to more collaboration and assistance in this direction which is geared towards making our policies in the education sector successful,” Mr Abolaji noted.
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