By Justina Auta
The National Eye Health Program (NEHP) of the Public Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), on Wednesday donated free eye glasses to the FCT commercial motor drivers.
The exercise, in collaboration with Sightsavers Nigeria, also witnessed donation of drugs and other eye screening exercise in Abuja.
The exercise is part of activities to mark the 2022 World Sight Day (WSD) with theme, “Love Your Eyes”, annually celebrated on Oct. 13 to raise global awareness on eye health.
Dr Obi Chimezie, representing NEHP, said the exercise in Nyanya and Jabi parks aimed at raising awareness among motorists, transporters on the need for regular eye check, to reduce road accidents.
Chimezie said the ministry in collaboration with Sightsavers would also engage in free cataract eye surgery at the Bwari General Hospital, which began on Monday and would last till Saturday.
“This is a way of giving back to the public. We teamed up to ensure safety of eye health of drivers in the country.
“We provide best Ophthalmologist, Opticians, Optometrist and eye specialists to conduct free medical eye check up on motor drivers,” he said.
Dr Selben Penzin, Senior Programme Manager for Eye Health at Sightsavers said their organisation aimed to promote the elimination of avoidable blindness, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and improve livelihood of People with Disability (PWDs).
“Data shows that they are serious problems. That is why Sightsavers in Nigeria is working with eye health professionals to create awareness.
“We are encouraging people to show commitment towards taking responsibility for their eye sights.
“Our focus today on drivers is to create awareness on eye blindness and visual impairment, especially for long distance drivers,” she said.
Dr Abubakar Tafida, Mandate Secretary for FCTA Health and Human Services Secretariat, said the FCTA in June, provided cataract services to 500 patients within the FCT.
Tafida stressed the need for the people to take care of their eyes and also make it a habit to check the eyes regularly.
“We are creating awareness and improving eye care services in all our hospitals,” he said.
Also, the President, Nigerian Optometrist Association, Dr Obinna Awiaka, attributed poor eye sights as one of the major causes of road accidents.
“That is why our attention this year is on drivers, to ensure they undergo eye screening regularly, especially for people around 40 years, there are definitely changes in the eyes.”
Dr Abiola Oyeleye, President, Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria, said the choice of the motor parks for the sensitisation was to remove stigma among drivers who used medicated glasses while driving.
Also, Dr Ibrahim Wambai-Usman, National Chairman, Nigeria Optometric Nurses, stressed the need for Nigerians to inculcate the habit of regular eye check to improve their health status.
Meanwhile, some of the motorists and drivers appreciated the efforts of government and stakeholders in the health sector for the exercise which would reduce eye health challenges and save cost for treatment.
The exercise witnessed massive turnout by motorists and transporters to ensure safety while driving.