By Sam Oditah
Umuahia – Miss Ifeoma Nweke, a National Youth Service Corps member serving in Abia, on Tuesday organised free eye screening for 78 students of Ibeku High School, Umuahia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nweke carried out the exercise in collaboration with Madonna Catholic Hospital, Umuahia, and `Back to the Heros Past’ (BATHEP), an NGO.
The hospital administrator, Rev.-Fr. Christian Anokwuru, told NAN that the screening focused on some major eye diseases such as itching, cataract and glaucoma, among others.
Anokwuru said that while some were given medication, those with serious cases got referral letters to the hospital for follow-up.
He said that 30 pairs of reading glasses would be distributed free of charge to patients during the first phase of the exercise.
He also said that the hospital had an arrangement to intervene in any case requiring surgery, adding that the programme was organised at the instance of the corps member as her Community Development Service (CDS).
“The corps member, who is doing her primary assignment with us, brought the proposal and we bought into it because it is part of the hospital’s mandate.”
The cleric, who is also the founder of the NGO, said that the organisation joined in the exercise in order to advance its charity and humanitarian work.
“The hospital and BATHEP sponsored the exercise by providing funds, medication as well as glasses and personnel.”
The corps member told NAN that the exercise was part of her CDS and “my own little way to pay back to society”.
She said that she was inspired by her personal experience having suffered myopia (short-sightedness) as a child.
Nweke said that her case was not diagnosed until she was 11 years while in her Junior Secondary School 2.
“Many people, especially children, always assumed that eye problem is only for the aged but this is wrong.
“Children should always complain to their parents anytime they experience itching, pain or blurred vision,” she advised.
She said that the programme included a lecture on how to care for the eyes the gains of early diagnosis.
Nweke and the hospital administrator expressed concern that many Nigerians do not take care of their eyes until they suffer complication.
They advocated that people should visit eye specialists once in six months for early detection and treatment of diseases.
Some of the students who were diagnosed with different ailments included Blessing Okon-Ben (16) and Ikoro David (17), who said it was their first time to undergo eye screening.
The Principal of the school, Chief Kalu Ojike, together with the students, expressed gratitude to the organisers of the programme and urged them to make it a regular exercise. (NAN)