by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The Plateau State Government is to partner with an international organization, Sightsavers, in establishing a comprehensive eye health program throughout the State.
The state governor, Simon Lalong, stated this, while receiving Country Director of Sightsavers Nigeria and Ghana, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku, at the Government House, Jos recently.
Lalong explained that, the partnership is based on his earlier visit to the United Kingdom where he interacted with global leaders of the organization and a subsequent request for the partnership, which is aimed at addressing the challenges of eye health in the State, particularly in the rural areas.
He said, one of his passions is to see that people, who are living with disabilities in any form, get assistance and reprieve through deliberate steps such as the one being taken in the partnership with Sightsavers.
While thanking the team for the visit, the governor assured that the State Government was ready to play its part in the partnership by paying its counterpart funding and also making facilities and personnel available for training and actual operation.
Speaking earlier, the Country Director, Dr. Isiyaku, noted that, they were in the state on the directive of the global office, which responded to the communication sent to it by the governor for partnership.
According to him, a three-year partnership is being proposed and will support the establishment of a State-owned comprehensive eye health program that is well coordinated, accessible, affordable and sustainable, based on national policies and guidelines for the over 4 million people of Plateau State.
Dr. Isiyaku said in 2021, a survey was carried out, which showed that there was a significant gap in eye health in Plateau State, which needs to be addressed immediately, to save many citizens from going blind. This he said will involve manpower training, improvement of infrastructure and advocacy.
The Country Director asked the Governor to approve health facilities in the Central and Southern Zones; commit to pay counterpart funds; fund budget lines for eye health, and work towards improving the human resource in the eye health sector.
Head of another organization, ‘Christoffel Blinden Mission’ (CBM), also assured the governor that they will partner together with Sightsavers to achieve the mission.