By Felicia Imohimi
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has pledged the commitment of the Federal Government to scale up the implementation of Vision 2020 ‘Right to Sight’ to ensure universal access to healthy eye sight.
The Vice President gave the assurance at the Annual General Meeting of the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN) on Thursday in Abuja.
The theme of this year’s event is: “Advancing eye care beyond 2020″ and sub theme: Recent advances in eye care’’.
Osinbajo identified the project as a Global Initiative, which the country was a signatory.
He added that the project was aimed at ensuring every citizen has right to sight by 2020 without financial hinderance.
Represented by Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State for Health, Osinbajo said government efforts was geared toward scaling up the implementation, as improved access to health through expansion of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
He added that others included the ‘President Muhammadu Buhari Restore Vision Project’, recently launched in Kaduna.
“The launching of Restore Vision project is aimed at improving eye-health and reduce prevalence of cataract-induced blindness in the country, by taking eye care to the less privileged at the grassroots.
“We believe the project will trigger increased cooperation among eye-health stakeholders, especially at States and Local Government Area levels.
“Eyes are not only critical for performance and productivity in daily chores and ultimately to the growth of national economy, but vital in making personal and collective judgments as well as decisions in daily endeavours.
“The importance of eye-health cannot be understated and ophthalmologists, being the custodians of the precious natural assets, your role is key in achieving this vision,” Osinbajo said.
The vice president said the 2014 National Eye Health Policy was embarked upon to address eye challenges, consistent with global best practices.
He said this was in tandem with the ‘Global Action Plan 2014 to 2019’, geared toward universal eye health.
Osinbajo, who decried the rate of visual challenges in the country, however disclosed that the government had procured modern machines for Phaco-emulsification surgery for the National Eye Centre, Kaduna, and other tertiary hospitals.
According to him, these measures will upgrade the quality, scale up turnover of surgical interventions as well as help to reduce the burden of cataracts in the country.
He commended the efforts of the OSN in the development of eye health programmes in Nigeria and other African countries.
Dr Bade Ogundipe, OSN President, said the Vision 2020 Right to Sight is to ensure that everyone had access to promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative eye healthcare at sufficient quality without suffering financial hardship.
Ogundipe noted that the goal of OSN was to attain a Nigeria where nobody is needlessly blind.
He assured of the society’s commitment to ensure the realisation of the set goal as well as the global initiative.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the highlight of the conference to include presentation of plaque to the VP and induction of Graduands of West African Post Graduates College of Opthalmology.