Delta State Government says it is irrevocably committed to the pursuit of the right to sight of all Deltans.
State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan stated this in a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Ministry of Health and MTN Foundation Eyesight Restoration Intervention Scheme at Agbor.
The Governor, who was represented on the occasion by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Joseph Otumara, said the right to sight is a free gift from God, which was indispensable in enjoying and achieving one’s aspirations in life.
He enumerated some of the efforts in this regard to include Mrs Roli Nere Uduaghan’s fight against blindness through her various campaigns toward the cure of cataract and refractive errors of the eyes, adding that screening and treatment of eye diseases were also critical thrust of the State’s Free Rural Health Scheme.
Governor Uduaghan also disclosed that the State Government, in 2005, inaugurated the Delta State Committee for the prevention of Blindness, which he said had been working assiduously to reduce the prevalence of blindness in the State.
He said a-Five-Year Strategic Vision 2020 Eye Care Plan has since been developed in the State in line with the objective of the National Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, affirming that the objective was to beef up human resources for the prevention of blindness and enhancement of infrastructure in eye care across the State.
The Governor thanked the MTN Foundation, for what he described as a ‘noble initiative’ in partnering with the Delta State Government to eradicate preventable blindness, assuring that his administration would honour the State’s part of the MoU on the partnership.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of MTN Foundation, Ms Nonny Ugboma, said the intervention scheme was expected to provide a veritable platform for data gathering for epidemological studies, operational research and planning of disease control.
She said it would also provide screening for cataract and other eye diseases for a minimum of ten thousand patients, carry out two thousand cataract surgeries and give out two thousand reading glasses, as well as two thousand packs of drugs.
The Executive Secretary said the scheme, which has the endorsement of the Federal Ministry of Health, has already been implemented in Osun and Niger States, with Abia, Jigawa and Sokoto to follow soon.
The representative of the Commissioner for Health and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Daniel Omodon, in a welcome address that the Ministry had put in place machinery to ensure a successful collaboration, through the provision of its state-of-the-art mobile field hospital manned by trained personnel.
The highlight of the occasion was the unveiling of some beneficiaries of cataract operation who were full of gratitude to both the State Government and MTN Foundation.
Dignitaries present at the occasion included the Commissioner for Special Duties, Millinnium Development Goals, Queen Victoria Ikenchukwu; her Energy counterpart, Mr Charles Emetulu; Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Monitoring, Dr Mrs Rukevwe Ugwumba and her Education Monitoring counterpart, Pastor Rhoda Ikede, among others.