Sophie Williams
Sat, Sep 2, 2023 4:25 AM

President Tinubu Supports Partnership to Provide Eyeglasses to Nigerians

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President Tinubu Supports Partnership to Provide Eyeglasses to Nigerians
President Bola Tinubu has pledged his support for a partnership between the National Eye Health Programme and the Peek Vision Foundation to provide eyeglasses to Nigerians with sight impairments. Tinubu shared a personal story about his mother's eye health and expressed his commitment to improving eye care services in Nigeria. Prof. Andrew Bastawrous highlighted the importance of good vision and the transformative power of vision care. The partnership aims to increase access to eye care services and provide glasses to vulnerable individuals.

President Bola Tinubu has declared his firm support for a new partnership aimed at providing eyeglasses to more than 5 million Nigerians with sight impairments. The partnership, formed between the National Eye Health Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Peek Vision Foundation, seeks to address the pressing need for improved eye health services in Nigeria.

In a statement released by his media aide, Ajuri Ngelale, President Tinubu shared a personal experience that inspired his commitment to eye care initiatives. He recounted the story of his mother, who became ill and couldn't recognize him. With appropriate treatment and a pair of glasses, her vision improved significantly. That experience led Tinubu to promise his mother that he would work towards providing free eye screenings and surgeries to those in need.

President Tinubu expressed concern about the staggering number of Nigerians grappling with vision impairments, estimated to be over 24 million individuals. Recognizing the pivotal role of sight and vision in economic development, he emphasized the importance of acting swiftly to address this issue.

Highlighting his visionary program, "Jigi Bola," initiated during his tenure as the Executive Governor of Lagos State in 2001, Tinubu emphasized the need for proactive eye care initiatives. The "Jigi Bola" program provided free eye screenings and surgeries to Lagosians, setting a precedent for other eye care programs in West Africa.

President Tinubu pledged his full support for the partnership between the National Eye Health Programme and the Peek Vision Foundation. He highlighted the importance of mobilizing further commitment to ensure the initiative's success and reach vulnerable individuals across the country. Determined to make a difference, Tinubu expressed personal investment due to his mother's question about others who might not have someone like him to intervene and provide eye care.

Prof. Andrew Bastawrous, Founder and CEO of the Peek Vision Foundation, emphasized the transformative power of good vision. He shared his personal journey, recalling how receiving a pair of glasses as a child changed his life completely. Bastawrous emphasized that improving vision care unlocks human potential, benefiting individuals, communities, and countries.

Eye care remains chronically under-resourced in many countries, including Nigeria. Prof. Bastawrous shed light on the meager allocation of the health budget towards eye health, with only 0.0002% being spent on this crucial aspect of healthcare.

However, he expressed optimism due to the strong team in Nigeria's health sector, conveying a desire to bring the Peek Vision methodology and platform to Nigeria. Through this partnership, resources from multiple sources can be unlocked to provide eyeglasses and improve eye care services. Bastawrous cited successful efforts in Botswana, where Peek Vision unlocked $10 million for the school program, and Kenya, where €17 million was secured.

The partnership also aims to leverage the Vision Catalyst Fund, which has already secured a donation of 200 million pairs of glasses. A significant proportion of these glasses will be directed to Nigeria, ensuring they reach those most in need.

At the conclusion of the event, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mohammed Ali Pate, along with other health officials, presented a National Policy Document on Eye Health to President Tinubu, underlining the nation's commitment to improving eye care services.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-02 News

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