Al-Basar International Foundation, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday, began free eye test on 5,000 people suffering from various eye ailments in Kaduna State.
The five-day programme would also be used to carry out free surgery on 500 people found with cataract, and the distribution of 1,000 reading glasses.
The Manager of the programme, Abdurrahman Adam, said at the opening of the exercise in Kaduna, that it was designed specifically for the less privileged.
“We will screen 5,000 people and conduct surgery for 500 people found with cataract and we will equally distributes free reading glasses to more than 1000 people in the course of the exercise,” he said.
He said that the Free Eye Camp was organised with the support of Kaduna State University, and Noor Dubai Foundation, a charity organization in the United Arab Emirate.
Dr Mansur Rabiu, Noor Dubai Foundation Consultant, said that the Kaduna camp was the foundation’s first activity in Nigeria.
Rabiu said that part of the engagement of the foundation was to build human capacity and conduct research in developing countries.
“We had a fruitful discussion with Kaduna State University and they requested for the Eye Camp. This is our entry point to Kaduna State and KASU.
“We will soon work out more collaboration particularly on human capacity and research with government and KASU with a view to providing efficient health and other services to humanity,’’ he added.
The state Commissioner for Health and Human Resources, Dr Paul Dogo, commended Al-Basar and Noor Dubai foundation for their support.
Dogo, represented by the state Director, Public Health, Dr Ado Mohammed said that such exercise would save people from going blind as a result of preventable causes such as cataract and glaucoma.
“We really commend their efforts and look forward to more partnership in the area of capacity building and equipping of hospitals with the needed facilities for tackling eye related problems,’’ he said.
Dr Silas Bakut, Head of Ophthalmology Department, Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Kaduna, said the programme would enable experts render support to so many people within a short time.
According to him, the high concentration of eye related diseases is among the poor who cannot afford access to health services.
“Some eye problems are from birth, some from elegy, some ageing and others from infection bacteria and viruses.
“Some eye problems are preventable, some are curable and others are manageable. When we continue to have programme like this, we will be able to assist the poor in the society,’’ Bakut said.
KASU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mohammed Tanko, thanked Gov. Nasir El-Rufai for his support in making the programme a reality.
Represented by Dr Yusuf Nadabo, Head of Human Anatomy, College of Medicine, the vice chancellor urged those who turned out for the programme to be orderly.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) thanked the organisations for providing them with free eye services.
Zainab Ibrahim, a beneficiary said that the support would help her save money that she would have used in going to hospital.
Another beneficiary who was to undergo cataract surgery, Mohammed Garba said: “Only God can reward the foundation for this kind gesture.”