By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Kwara State government would give priority attention to the health of the people through quality health services.
Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi, who stated this on Tuesday in Ilorin, the state capital, while declaring open the thirty third annual National Conference of Nigeria Ophthalmic Nurses Association, added that it’s clearly evident that the State is on the path to greatness under the leadership of Governor Abdulrasaq in view of the administration’s various interventions and payment of counterpart funds in the health sector, among others.
“You will all agree with me that the theme of the conference, VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, Countdown to the Final Lap, is germane. The eyes, small as they are, are very important components of our bodies and cannot be separated from our daily life”, the Deputy Governor explained.
He stressed further: “The Holy Books also state that the eye is the light of the body; if your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. It is therefore not surprising that a discussion on these apparently small parts of our bodies is the reason behind this big gathering of dignitaries, intellectuals and stakeholders alike”.
Mr Alabi called on the participants to do a thorough appraisal of vision 2020, seeing that it is barely a year left to the supposed accomplishment of the lofty ideal.
“The programme was launched in the year 1999 and now twenty years down the line, how have we fared as a nation in the accomplishment of this vision? For this cause, and to this end, we have all gathered; and for the rest of this week, we have lined up programmes aimed at finding viable answers to this question”, he added.
The Deputy Governor noted that the State has made giant strides in achieving its health objectives as evidenced by several programmes that have held over the years.
Dr. Kayode Olubiyi in his keynote address lamented that over 1.3m Nigerians are blind, while calling for an increase awareness and proffering of solutions to avoid blindness, adding that only a few States including Kwara, Lagos, Sokoto, Katsina have organised Primary Health care services.
He called on the professionals to be involved in serious research to reduce blindness.
Also Speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Rex Kola Olawoye called on the participants to deliberate extensively on the ways to reduce blindness in the society.
The National Chairman of the Association, Comrade Stephen Lamiya added that the Citizens have a right to enjoy good sight and access care that would promote and provide good eye sight and eye health.
He appealed to State governments to sponsor participants to Conferences in view of their inherent benefits.
The Chairperson of the Association in Kwara State, Mrs Oluwatoyin Opawoye said the Right to Sight is the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, a joint programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Avoidable Blindness (IAPB).
Mrs Opawoye appreciated the Kwara State government for encouraging training of Nurses as Ophthalmic personnel as it has further enhanced accessibility of the citizens to eye health services.