As part of efforts to reduce visual impairment and blindness amongst students in Lagos State, the State Government has launched the Secondary School Eye Health Programme.
Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi said the programme was one of the strategies of the State Government through its Blindness Prevention Initiative to reduce the burden of childhood blindness in Lagos State.
Prof. Abayomi, who made this known at the launch of the programme at Oregun Junior High School, Ikeja, explained that the Secondary School Eye Health Programme had four main components.
According to the Commissioner, the components include:*Training of teachers on vision screening across both the state secondary schools and the junior secondary schools.*Installation of vision screening board in all the state secondary schools.*Equipping of all secondary schools with vision screening kits.*Management and referral of students with eye conditions by the Blindness Preventive Team.
“Vision impairment affects people of all ages, and children are not left out. The leading causes of vision impairment and blindness are uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts. Visual impairment from uncorrected refractive error has immediate and long-term consequences. It can hamper performance, reduce productivity and generally impair quality of life.” “I would therefore like to use this medium to appeal to the students to make good use of this opportunity, get their eyes tested and report to the trained teachers and principals if any vision change is observed”.
Prof. Abayomi enjoined teachers also to use the opportunity to examine their eyes, stressing that the program is for students, teachers and school staff alike.
“We are introducing this programme because eyesight and hearing are one of the most important senses that we can have. Without good eyesight and good hearing, there is no way you can understand what is going on in your school, and therefore we must give every child a chance because if a child cannot see or hear, we are robbing the community of the benefits of that child. We are here to change the lives of students with eye defects so that they can harness their potentials and become the best at what they do.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mr Abayomi Abolaji, lauded the collaboration between the Lagos State Ministries of Health and Education, which resulted in the birthing of the expanded School Eye Health Program – the Secondary School Eye Health Programme
He added that the program would help alleviate the sufferings of students with visual impairments and ultimately improve the academic performance of secondary school pupils in the State.
The event’s high point was the presentation of eyeglasses to students, vision screening kits to trained secondary schools teachers, and unveiling of the vision corridor at the Oregun Junior High school