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Kwara Gov’s Wife advocates for compulsory eye-test for children

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The wife of Kwara Governor, Mrs Omolewa Ahmed, has advocated enactment of Law that will enforce all mothers to take their children to health facilities for vision screening before enrollment in government schools.

Ahmed made the call on Wednesday in Ilorin during her visit to the Children Hospital at Centre-Igboro in Ilorin.

The visit was embarked upon to influence immunization on children, as well as vision screening.

She stated that all ministries in the state would be made to key into the programme of vision screening for Kwara children to ensure preventable blindness.

The Governor’s wife who is Founder of Life Empowers Anchors Hope (LEAH) encouraged mothers to take children to immunization 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.

She said some of these cases of blindness are avoidable, adding that a child that is blind in young age will not have a qualitative life.

Ahmed also explained that recently over 200 blind citizens were empowered and N150,000 cheque given to them each to help them in their trade.

Speaking earlier at the occasion, Prof. Dupe Ademola-Popoola, an Ophtalmologist with the University of Ilorin Teaching Hosital (UITH) explained that the state government has enacted law that makes vision screening compulsory for children zero to five years.

She said because of the effort of the state government, a foundation; the USAID has shown interest in the project where they donated some equipment worth thousands of dollars.

The Ophtalmologist pointed out that a survey of 100 blind people carried out in the state suggested that, seven out of 10 where blind from childhood, while being hidden in that condition, till they are old enough to come out to beg for a living.

“Some years back, Nigeria rose to the challenge of fighting deficiency in Vit A and measles among children and they were successful,” she said.

Ademola-Popoola 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 staffs as well as centres for prevention of blindness and enhancement of sight.

According to the expert, 2500 children had so far been examined and some referral has been made to General Hospital in the state, adding that four children were however, diagnosed with blindness due to premature birth.

Ademola-Popoola also said that the programme will cascade beyond and capture older children to be examined.

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