Cross River State Government have move to eliminate avoidable visual impairment in children due to uncorrected refractive errors and reduce the
magnitude of uncorrected presbyopia among school children by introducing first ever Children eye care unit in any Primary Healthcare center in Nigeria.
It can be recalled that before this time, eye care was either provided at the teaching hospital (tertiary care) or the general hospitals (secondary care). There was no primary eye care program to serve rural dwellers in communities.
His Excellency Senator (Prof) Ben Ayade & the Honorable commissioner for health Dr Asibong were ably represented by Director General of Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Betta Edu as she commissioned the first children eyecare unit in a primary healthcare facility at Ikom.
Speaking, Dr Betta Edu said the children eyecare unit which have all the equipment and skilled personnel that can be found in a teaching hospital or general hospital will provide refraction and optical services that have a high success rate in terms of visual acuity, improved quality of life and affordable healthcare for all especially children.
According her, Children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life, academically, socially and athletically. She noted that high-quality eye care can break down these barriers and help enable children to reach their highest potential in life. She said “Most rural dwellers resort to herbs, use of urine or even fake eye drop sold by quacks to treat eye problems. these have to stop, as we are committed to the Establishmnt of more eye centers in our primary health care facilities to serve rural dwellers”
Earlier Speaking, the Sub-regional manager for Brien Holden vision institute Dr Ann Ebri said over 18,000 children have been screened and by December 2019 they should have screen and treated about 250,000 children and provide 310 children surgery free of charge.
She noted that 5,000 children have been provided spectacles while 8,000 children will get free medication.
Finally she said to develop a functional and sustainable process a functional referral pathway to accessible specialist eye care services is essential. She said the organization has trained doctors as pediatric optometrist and other health workers to run the primary health eye care program
High point of the event was the commissioning of the eyecare centre, inspection of the eyecare unit and treatment of children amongst others. Witnesses by the HOLGA of Ikom who praised Governor Ayade for his giant strides, the PHC coordinator Ikom and the ward development committee