Daily Trust (Abuja)

30 November 2012

Nigeria: 'Self Eye Test' Targets Urban Middle Class to Reduce Blindness

The 'Seeing is Believing' initiative to set up self eyes test centers at strategic places in Abuja, is said to target urban slums and raise awareness against avoidable blindness or vision impairment.

The sub-regional manager of the Brien Holden vision institute, Dr. Anne Ebri, says the self test eyes program is in collaboration with the FCT health and staff of standard chartered bank, to meet the increasing burden of uncorrected refractive error.

At one of the centre within the premises of Utako market Abuja passersby were encouraged to do a self-test of their vision by reading different signs and size of letters written on a board about ten feet away.

According to Dr Anne, "in actual fact 80 percent of blindness and vision impairment is avoidable. We are in this market today to introduce the self test vision corridor; the self test vision corridor is a platform where individuals can actually access how well they see."

"Because we have found out that it is very difficult for people to go to the hospital for various reasons - either distance, or cost, and for whatever, people are busy making money - so we have brought this test to the very market place where we believe we can catch quite a lot of people." She said.

Dr Anne, further explained that, "We have found out that, particularly drivers, public transport drivers, actually drive with vision in one eye, which is very dangerous and risky, because this is your everyday business. You have several people you are carrying in your car, and one eye is not seeing."

Malam Mustapha Abdullahi, the desk officer of the FCT eye care project, told Daily Trust that, "They are here to help the urban slums, this self eye test. we would mount 20 all over the city, they are in three local governments, Abuja Municipal Area council, Kuje area council and Bwari area council,

He added that, "our main hospital is Kubwa hospital where we do surgery and the collaborating groups actually furnished and refurbished and also equipped the eye clinic to a world class standard, so we have a consultant at the Kubwa general hospital.

Malam Abdullahi further said, "We also have Kuje general hospital that serves as a referral centre, people screened could be referred to either Bwari or Kuje.

"Market women and men, driver, and road transport workers, are our main target, because they do not have time to go to the hospital, but with this within their markets and garages they would be able to test the selves," he said.

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