By Festus Fifen.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Wednesday flagged off free Eye surgery for Cataract patients at the Kwali General Hospital in Kwali Area Council of the Nigeria Capital.
The Secretary, FCT Secretariat For Health and Human Services, Dr. Abubakar Tafida who flagged of the programme at the Kwali General Hospital, said the first set of 500 indigent patients would benefit from the programme.
He noted that efforts to sustain the programme would be intensified with the support of Development Partners and other stakeholders.
While he disclosed that the programme may not continue to be free of charge in the future, he explained that the cost would be made affordable to patients.
He said, ” We took up the issue with the Minister who approved that 500 patients should be operated free. This is the beginning, as we continue with this activity, we hope it will culminate into a development of high volume Cataract surgery centre in Kwali.
” Even if it will not be free after sometime, it is going to be cost effective ” Tafida said.
Dr. Fatima Kyari, an ophthalmologist at UAUTH and a partner of International Agency for Prevention of Blindness, said the stakeholders were giving the needed attention to the programme, because the patients have lost their sight and economic wellbeing.
She disclosed that some of the patients that have benefited from the free surgery, have been blind for 10 years.
Kyari disclosed that the partners provided all the consumables which complimented the efforts of FCTA.
Also, the Paramount Ruler and Etsu of Kwali Dr. Shaban Nizazo, commended the FCT Administration for extending such pro poor programme to his domain.
He also appealed that the programme be sustained and possibly extended to other rural communities where many indigent Cataract patients are found.
Two beneficiaries of the free surgery, Wando Samuel and Evelyn Okoye, testified to the effectiveness of the programme, saying that the surgery has restored both sight and productive life to them.
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