Hajiya Amina Sambo, wife of the Vice President, on Wednesday launched a free cataract eye surgery programme for 1,000 women and youths in Gombe State.
She said the North-East had the highest prevalence rate of blindness, with cataract being responsible for 60 per cent, according to National Blindness Survey of 2005.
According to her, the programme, “I Care Women and Youth Initiative’’, has been her pet project since her husband was governor of Kaduna State.
“Cataract is preventable and curable but because of poverty and ignorance, many people become blind.
“We will continue to offer free medical attention to the less privileged; instead of begging, we will give them hope,’’ she said.
Sambo said since inception of the programme in 2009, not less than 1,263 people had benefited from it.
She said in Gombe, 1,000 women and youths were identified with eye diseases and they would benefit from the programme.
“Gombe count yourself lucky because since inception of this programme, this is the first time 1,000 people would benefit from the programme at once.’’
She said from Gombe State, the next port of call would be Benue in the north central part of the country.
The vice president’s wife said that a team of 11 foreign doctors and six home-based doctors were deployed to perform the surgery.
She said the programme was in collaboration with the Federation of International Islamic Relief Organisation, Saudi Arabia.
Dr Yusuf Chedi, Coordinator of the programme, said he was optimistic the programme would be successful in the state, following the encouragement by the state Ministry of Health.
He called on the public to avail themselves of the opportunity of the surgery.
Gov. Ibrahim Dankwmbo, said Gombe residents were happy with the visit of the vice president’s wife and the programme.
“This is the testimony of your love and care for humanity and the people of Gombe State.
He commended her for the foresight, empathy and magnanimity in establishing the NGO.
NAN reports that the programme is aimed at strengthening the family unit and helping children, adolescents, widows and other vulnerable persons to realise their full potential.