Lagos: November 26, 2012 - First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB) in collaboration with Tulsi Chanrai Foundation has commenced the 2012 free restoration of sight to visually impaired Nigerians.  in Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State.

The surgeries will commence December 1, 2012 in the designated centre in Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State, and will run all through February 2013.

Ikechukwu Kalu, FCMB’s Group Head, Corporate Communications said in Lagos yesterday, that the intervention activity was part of the Bank’s yearly Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme tagged Priceless Gift of Sight which is aimed at providing free eye surgeries in rural areas to combat cataracts and reduce avoidable  blindness.

For four years running, the intervention has provided free eye surgeries in rural areas to combat cataracts and reduce avoidable blindness to underprivileged adults and children in selected communities across the country.

Ikechukwu Kalu further said the aim of this year’s activity is to once again help in reducing avoidable blindness, by providing high quality free surgeries for cataract treatment among the poor in Nigeria. In the last four years (2009 – 2012), 8,500 visually impaired Nigerians including 5,000 children have benefited from the programme.

The FCMB initiative will also raise awareness on the magnitude of the problems associated with cataract in Nigerian communities and help to improve the economic independence of the respective beneficiaries.

Between 2009 and 2012, surgeries were conducted on verified patients across the country in five designated centers in Calabar, Yola in Adamawa State, Brinin-Kebbi, Kebbi State, Owerri, Imo State and Abuja. Surgeries were this year, suspended in Yola, Brinin-Kebbi and Owerri because of the security situations in the states.

Surgeries and the entire treatment are performed free of charge while real time training of local medical and para -medical personnel are conducted to facilitate capacity building.

The surgeries focus on surgical treatment of cataract with inter-ocular lens implantation to those who would otherwise be unable to access quality surgeries. Modern surgical techniques using state of the art equipments are in use in all the hospitals, while Tulsi Chanrai Foundation ensures maximum utilization of existing government infrastructure thus saving unnecessary duplication and expense.

Part of the intervention system put in place to restore sight include screening of patients by trained para-medical staff in the communities, transporting patients to base hospitals, full ophthalmic and medical examination of patients prior to surgery and, surgery carried out by qualified surgeons using latest techniques. Others include the observation of patients in hospitals for at least 24 hours post surgery, admission of selected patients for 2-3 nights, administering of one post operative check up on patients within six weeks in the community, and random post operative audit by independent ophthalmologist to confirm efficiency and benefit of surgery.

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