From Mika’il Tsoho, Dutse
The Christian Blind Mission International (CBMI) has announced plans to allocate N1.7 billion for eye treatment, benefiting over 3.9 million people in Jigawa state.
The project was launched by CBMI country director, Bright Ekweramadu, in collaboration with the Health Development Support Programme (HANDS) and with the support of the Jigawa state government.
The initiative, set to run for 41 months from November 1, 2022, to March 31, 2026, aims to directly benefit 53,920 individuals and indirectly benefit 3.9 million people, according to Ekweramadu.
He highlighted the findings of the National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey in Nigeria, conducted from 2005 to 2007, which revealed a prevalence of blindness of 0.78% among all age groups.
The survey also identified an increase in the prevalence of blindness with age, rising from 0.8% in the 40-49 age group to 23.3% in those aged 80 and above. Additionally, it found that females had a higher prevalence of blindness compared to males. The study showed that the north-west geopolitical zone, including Jigawa state, had the highest number of blind adults in the country.
Cataracts were identified as the leading cause of severe visual impairment and blindness, accounting for 45.3% and 43.0%, respectively. Glaucoma was the second most common cause of blindness, responsible for 16.7% of cases, as stated by Ekweramadu.
He also explained that the Comprehensive and Inclusive Eye Health Project for Jigawa State aims to enhance eye health services by integrating them into the state’s healthcare governance.
It seeks to raise awareness about the availability of eye care services and improve their accessibility at primary and secondary levels. The project also aims to strengthen the capacity of eye care professionals and healthcare workers to provide comprehensive and inclusive eye health services.
In his remarks, Jigawa state governor, represented by the secretary to the state government, Alhaji Bala Ibrahim, applauded the donor partners and called on the people of Jigawa to support the project for its success.