Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Wednesday flagged off free
cataract surgery for 405 residents restating his commitment to quality
Fayemi said his administration was partnering with the Federal
Government and the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria under the Ekiti
Free Cataract Surgery/President Buhari Restores Vision Programme to
restore the sight of the patients.
The surgery, according to a statement signed by Odunayo Ogunmola, media aide to the Deputy Governor, was going on simultaneously at Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Ado-Ekiti; State Specialist Hospital,
Ikere-Ekiti and Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti.
The governor who was represented by his deputy, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi,
at the flag off held at EKSUTH, Ado-Ekiti, said the gesture was aimed
at addressing the burden of increasing blindness from cataract and
assisting residents who are financially handicapped to sponsor their
He explained that an average of 250 surgeries was to be carried out
per state but that of Ekiti was increased to 405 to give more cataract
patients in the state opportunity to benefit from the scheme.
The governor noted that Ado, Ikere and Ido were carefully chosen as
centres cutting across the three senatorial districts to make the
scheme accessible to people in the grassroots.
Fayemi disclosed that 200 of the cases were screened during the first
phase of his administration’s Free Health Mission which provided
medical services to 67,000 people across the eleven local government
Describing cataract as a leading cause of blindness, Fayemi disclosed
that 4.25 million Nigerian adults aged above 40 are visually impaired
while 5.5 per cent of adults aged 50 and above are estimated to be
blind. He explained that government was tackling cataract headlong by
offering to sponsor the surgery and helping the patients overcome
financial constraints to restore their vision.
Fayemi said: “As a government that is concerned about the well-being
of its people, we promised that no one will be left out.
“Here we are today practising what we preached by granting free access
to the healthcare many people may not be able to afford personally. We
are doing this judiciously without age, gender, religion or political
Earlier in her address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health,
Dr. Folake Olomojobi, explained that the free cataract surgery
programme was part of Governor Fayemi’s Free Health Mission aimed at
sustaining a healthy state.
She revealed that each cataract surgery costs N50,000 outside
post-surgery expenses which have been borne by the state government.
Mrs. Olomojobi disclosed that the surgery was being performed by
indigenous cataract surgeons adding that the scheme was geared towards
achieving ‘once I was blind and now I can see testimony.’
The president of Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria, Dr. Bade
Ogundipe, who was represented by Dr. Kayode Ajite, said the body was
working in synergy with state governments in Nigeria to ensure a
He commended the Ekiti State government for not only taking the
financial burden of the patients but also providing the post-operation
drugs for them.