Oct 16,2011 – The Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Samson Parker, says an estimated 22,308 persons in the state are blind.
The commissioner gave the figure at the celebration of the 2011 World Sight Day in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
“Of these number, 19,407 (68 per cent) have cataract and glaucoma,” he said, adding that the prevalence rate was 0.8 per cent.
The state government had set up a committee on prevention of blindness. Parker said the government would encourage the committee to embark on aggressive public enlighten campaign, and execute the planned community eye care programmes.
“Government will look into the possibility of setting up zonal primary eye care centres in existing health facilities to deal with prevention and treatable causes of blindness,” he said. “It will also upgrade existing secondary and tertiary eye care centres.”
Parker, quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), said an estimated 286 million people globally were visually impaired.
According to WHO, an estimated 65 per cent of visually impaired persons are over 50 years of age while 19 million children are affected.