By: Badaru Yakasai & Jonah Doris
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) is committed in addressing and controlling infectious diseases including Glaucoma across the Territory.
The Administration assures that it will not treat with a kid’s glove any infectious disease in the FCT due to its dangerous effect on the society.
Secretary, FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Abubakar Tafida gave this assurance as the FCTA joined the rest of the World to mark the World Glaucoma Day in Abuja.
Dr. Tafida said that although the World Glaucoma Day is observed every year, this year’s own is a special, because it aims to create awareness and sensitization for people to know about the disease.
His words: “This year’s event is marked with the theme – The World is Bright, Protect your Sight.”
He said that part of this year’s activities to mark the World Glaucoma Day is free eye screening, treatment and issuing of free medicated glasses, road walk and awareness talk.
Dr. Tafida reiterated that Gloucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the optic nerve in the eye, which is part of the eye that sends electrical impulses for sight to the brain.
According to him, Glaucoma if left untreated over a period of time can cause permanent blindness.
Dr. Tafida added that Glaucoma is an enigma, because there are no prior symptoms at first, vision stays normal and there is no pain but as the disease advances, side vision begins to fail and overtime if not treated a person with Glaucoma becomes blind thus; the only cure to the defect is early detection and treatment.
He commended the Public Health Department for organizing the event to sensitize the public on the dangers of the disease.
The Director, Public Health Department Dr. Saddiq Abdulrahaman in his welcome address advised people who came for the free eye screening on the need for them to know their status and also spread the information to others, who were not present in order to help save sight because ” the world is Bright” and to see it, you need to “protect your sight”.
He emphasized on the fact that Glaucoma has no cure but early diagnosis and treatment can control the pressure in the eye and equally delay further damage to the optic nerve like using prescribed eye drops and pills, laser surgery or traditional surgery depending on the case.
Meanwhile, at a lecture organized by the Department of Opthalmology of Asokoro District Hospital, Dr. Tafida maintained that Glaucoma is the second cause of blindness in Nigeria (17% of blindness is caused by Glaucoma) and people affected with Glaucoma are often not aware of the disease.
In a paper presented by the Consultant Opthalmology at Asokoro District Hospital, Dr. Aisha Sheriff Kalambe, spoke on Glaucoma awareness saying 80 – 95% of people in the FCT are unaware of Glaucoma according to a survey and that 8,500 people between the age of 40 years and above are with Glaucoma and this calls for the dire need of awareness and sensitization about the disease to help curb it because “anything lost to Glaucoma can not be recovered” she stressed.