An Ophthalmologist and head of eye clinic at Rasheed Shekoni Specialist hospital in Dutse, Dr Abdullahi Idris disclosed this during a round table meeting between the Ministry of Health official, media and the team from the Health and Development Support Programme said out of the over six million people in Jigawa state about 2.4 million are children and estimated that about 30,000 children or has one eye disease or another.
Dr Abdullahi Idris said that out of the total figures 20% are suffering from cataract, 20% suffers Glaucoma, 20% suffers from scar, 10% Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) and 30% suffering from other common eye diseases.
According to him, the major causes of childhood blindness include lack of vitamin A which take about 60%, measles, trauma, Keratitis, Strabismus, Onchocerciasis, Trachoma, Cataracts from rubella among others and it happens through sexually transmitted diseases, retinopathy of pre-maturity, poor nutrition, neglected tropical diseases and genetics.
He called on the parents of children with any eye disease and the general public to use the opportunity to take their child for free treatment.
Dr Idris further called on the parents to provide meals with nutritional value to children and pregnant women and reporting any eye case to the appropriate centres to reduce the risk of childhood blindness in the state.
On his part the director public health, Dr.Umar Bulangu said all identified children in primary and junior secondary schools were to enjoy free eye treatment by the Jigawa state government in collaboration with Standard Chartered Bank of the United Kingdom under the Health and Development Support Programme (HDSP) in the state.
Dr. Umar Bulangu explained that the “in the Jigawa state government supports and commitment towards success of this project the ministry of health had designated about 40 health centers to identity and referred them to the treatment center at ECWA eye clinic in Kano.
Also speaking, the Jigawa state team leader for the project, Dr Abalis Dasat Abalis said the sum of N1.8 billion has been released by the Standard Chartered Bank in United Kingdom for the project in Nigeria where over 1.5 million children is targeted across the country.
Dr. Abalis Dasat explained that the project is titled ” Seeing is Believing (SiB) is taking place in 11 states including Jigawa in the programme
According to him, for the programme to be successful the organization will train and re-train some selected primary and secondary school teachers, primary healthcare workers, nurses and midwives to have knowledge on common eye diseases and report to the appropriate centres for free treatment.
According to Nimedhealth, Blindness is defined as inability to count fingers at a distance of 3 metres,or a visual acuity of less than 3/60 in the better eye with the best possible correction. In addition, when the visual field is less than 10 degrees, the eye is considered to be blind even if visual acuity is not impaired. A person is considered to have severe visual loss if the best corrected visual acuity ‘is less than 6/60 or there is inability to count lingers at 6 metres.