Free surgery in Kebbi for over 3,000 visually impaired patients

“The Sight Savers”, an International Non-Governmental Organisation, has so far treated 3,112 patients diagnosed with trachoma in Kebbi state.

Mr Ezra Yarima, a facilitator from the organisation, disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday in Birnin Kebbi, shortly after the inauguration of an advisory committee on neglected tropical diseases set up by the Kebbi Government.

Trachoma is an eye infection that causes blindness.

“The NGO, in collaboration with the state’s Ministry of Health, had provided ‘trachomatous trichiasis’ surgery to 3,112 patients suffering from the disease from 2015 to date,’’ he said.

He described the state as endemic to five tropical neglected diseases such as Onchocerciasis (river blindness), Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis), Trachoma (Blinding disease).

Others include Schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis) and soil-transmitted helminths (Intestinal worms).

According to him, river blindness, one of the neglected tropical diseases is found in 14 local government areas of the state.

“The disease is caused by bacteria in places that are arid with poor hygiene; poor sanitation and poor access to water, which if not treated can cause blindness.

“For those who live in endemic areas, we have provided mass administration of medicine free of charge to a significant number of people,” he said.

Yarima expressed confidence that composition of the newly inaugurated advisory committee, which comprised officials from different government ministries and agencies in the state, would make the NGO work effectively in line with its mandate.

He commended the commitment of the state government in providing the right leadership and financial commitment to overcome the identified neglected tropical diseases in the state.

The organisation exists in over 30 countries with the sole aim of eliminating avoidable blindness and support people with visual impairment.

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