Omolewa Ahmed Kwara First Lady advocates compulsory vision screening for children

The advocacy was undertaken to influence immunisation on children as well as vision screening.

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Mrs Omolewa Ahmed, wife of Kwara governor, has advocated for a law that would compel mothers to take their children to health facilities for vision screening before enrollment in public schools.

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

The advocacy was undertaken to influence immunisation on children as well as vision screening.

Ahmed said 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 the Founder of Life Empowers Anchors Hope (LEAH), urged mothers to take children to immunisation centres and also undergo vision screening as it was 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 more than 200 blind citizen were recently empowered in the state with N150,000 each to help them in their trade.

Speaking earlier at the occasion, Prof. Dupe Ademola-Popoola, an Ophthalmologist with the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), explained that the state government has enacted law that makes vision screening compulsory for children below the age of six years.

She said because of the effort of the state government, USAID has shown interest in the project and donated some equipment worth thousands of dollars.

The ophthalmologist pointed out that a survey of 100 blind people conducted in the state suggested that seven out of 10 were blind from childhood and kept indoors 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 Vitamin 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 in the state.

She added that the centres would also act as training of members of staff as well as centres for prevention of blindness and enhancement of sight.

According to the expert, 2, 500 children had so far been examined and some referral has been made to the General Hospital in the state, adding that four children are howeve, diagnosed with blindness due to premature birth.

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

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also reports that operation and functionality of the vision screening equipment was demonstrated to the governor’s wife. 

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