The Resource Center for the Blind, RCB, a non-governmental organisation, has called on the government and corporate organisations to ensure inclusive opportunities for the visually impaired and people with special needs.
Speaking during a walk to commemorate World Sight Day in partnership with Jubrila Ayinla Foundation, Director of the Centre, Temitayo Ayinla-Omotola said that 90 percent of the world blind lives in low income countries such as Africa and Asia where poverty and blindness perpetrate in a descending circle.
She noted that the main cause of blindness is a needless and frequently avoidable variant called cataract which affects 95million people worldwide. “We can no longer turn a blind eye to poor vision. Blindness does not just exacerbate existing poverty in poor countries; it also causes people to become poor.
“So the Resource Center for the Blind is charging the general public to join us to protect, empower, and provide safe and inclusive opportunities for those who are visually impaired so that they can live independent and productive lives.
“We are calling on employers of labour, organisations and entities to create equal, safe and inclusive job opportunities for the visually impaired and also to support the organizations to be able to train and rehabilitate the blind so that they can also come out and be productive in life .
She implored the government to ensure that the existing laws regarding the visually impaired become more functional.
In her presentation, Senior Registrar, Department of Ophthalmology, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Dr. Tolani Salako noted that the increasing numbers of the visually impaired has greatly affected growth of the economy in the country.
According to her, without good eye health, it is almost impossible to achieve one’s goals.
She explained that, “It doesn’t mean that when you’re blind, you can’t achieve what you lay down to achieve in life, but having quality education becomes difficult especially for the young ones who are the leaders of tomorrow. So, it is important for us to pay adequate attention to our eyes.
“In Nigeria, according to the National blindness Survey It’s been said that about 4.25 Millions of Nigerians, aged 40 years old and above are actually either mildly visually impaired, moderate or even blind.
So, imagine this large proportion of the population being blind, that will impact significantly on economic growth of the country,” she added.
This is even as she cautioned Nigerians on self-care and the use of traditional means for the treatment of certain eye issues.