Lagos: November 23, 2011 - First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB) in collaboration with the Mission for Vision - Tulsi Chanrai has commenced the free restoration of sight to visually impaired Nigerians in three different geographical zones in the country, for the third year running.

Surgeries commenced in the three designated centres in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, Yola in Adamawa State and Brinin-Kebbi, Kebbi State on November 1, 2011, and will run all through December. Owerri, Imo State and Abuja benefitted from the programme in 2009 and 2010.

The Bank said yesterday, that the intervention activity was part of its yearly Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative tagged Priceless Gift of Sight which is aimed at promoting a cause – the restoration of sight, which is essential to the social and economic independence and development of vulnerable groups within the country. For three years running, the intervention has focused on the promotion of free restoration of sight to underprivileged adults and children in selected communities across the country, taking advantage of the December festive season and Children’s Day celebration in May of every year.

Kenny Aliu, FCMB’s Group Head, Corporate Communications 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 three years (2009 – 2011), 6500 visually impaired Nigerians including 5,000 children have had their sights restored through this 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.

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 free 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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