Lagos State government today commemorated the World Glaucoma Day with a call on various stakeholders in the health sector to intensify sensitisation campaigns that will stem the scourge of the ailment which ranks second among diseases that cause blindness worldwide.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Titilayo Goncalves, while delivering a public lecture to commemorate the event, noted that the stakeholders – government, donor agencies, eye care institutions and professionals, patients as well as the entire public – have a role to play in tackling the disease.
She said, “if we can provide the needed quality care, join the advocacy task force, subsidise funds for glaucoma patients and if one cannot undertake any of the tasks, one can pray for the much needed scientific breakthrough in discovering a cure for glaucoma”.
Noting that the State Government remains committed to meeting needs of the ophthalmology sector in the Health Ministry, Goncalves revealed that due to the need for increased awareness and knowledge on glaucoma, the government is partnering with eye care professionals to sensitise patients as well as personnel in health institutions about the ailment.
“This year, against all odds, the Lagos State Ministry of Health partnering with Eye care professionals deemed it fit to create public awareness on glaucoma during this global event”, she said.
Dr. Goncalves described glaucoma as “the silent stealer of sight” saying the theme of this year’s event – “Beat Invisible Glaucoma” is designed to intensify the campaign against glaucoma which World Health Organisation statistics reveal accounts for 15% of cases of blindness in Africa.
Speaking in the same vein, Dr. Funmilayo Shokunbi, Director of Medical Administration, Training and Programmes in the Ministry of Health, said the Glaucoma Day public lecture was focussed on keeping the public abreast of current trends in glaucoma treatment and management.
Buttressing her point, she asserted that “With growing globalisation, especially in healthcare, it is imperative that all medical professionals regardless of their cadre are up-to-date with the current knowledge of clinical practice so that patients are given the quality care that they deserve”.
She encouraged citizens, especially those above 40years, to get their eyes examined annually for early detection of glaucoma, assuring that the Ministry of Health will intensify its blindness intervention and prevention programmes.
Present at the event were the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Health Service Commission, Mr. Segun Adeniji, Medical Directors from State General Hospitals as well as representatives of various associations including of General Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Optometrist Association of Nigeria and Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria among others.