The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has said that partnership and collaboration are essential for delivering the universal eye health strategy in Nigeria.
Professor Adewole stated this at the closing ceremony of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (THE TRUST) yesterday in Abuja. The TRUST is a Trachoma initiative project poised towards the elimination of Trachoma in Nigeria in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health.
In his keynote address at the occasion, Professor Adewole who was represented by the Director, Department of Health Research, Planning and Statistics (DHRPS), Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, said that the collaboration which started in March 2014 had supported surgical interventions and mass administration of medicines in Katsina, Bauchi, Kaduna, Sokoto and Yobe States.
This intervention, the Minister informed, had drastically reduced the number of Nigerians who were at risk of developing Trachoma from 22million to 13million. He said that the Federal Government of Nigeria was committed to maintain the momentum and ensure that the country did not slip backwards.
Adewole further explained that the government had resolved to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem by providing clean and safe water across the country; in that water, sanitation and hygiene were key components of the intervention.
The Minister commended the stakeholders for their funding to deliver the surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement strategy and Pfizer for ensuring the provision of all required medicines.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of the TRUST, Dr. Astrid Bonfield narrated that the TRUST was established in 2012 to create a lasting legacy in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 as Head of the Commonwealth.
Commending the Nigerian Government, Federal Ministry of Health and supporting Partners, Bonfield said the main focus of the TRUST was to channel resources towards supporting Commonwealth governments to eliminate Trachoma and the avoidable blindness it caused.
Highlight of the event was a presentation of plaques to representatives of partners and other stakeholders who participated in the project: - Sightsavers, Helen Keller International (HKI), Christophel Blinden Mission (CBM), Health and Development Support Programme (HANDS) and Mission to Save the Helpless (MITOSATH), amongst others.
Director, Media and Public Relations
16th April, 2019.