THE International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIRO)-sponsored free cataract operation and other eye treatments, organised by the Albasar International Foundation, begin today in Ilorin, at the Kwara State Specialist Hospital, Sobi-Alagbado.
The joint team of the Saudi-Arabia-based charity and medical organisations moved to Ilorin after completing a similar week-long exercise in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Friday.
According to the Imam of an indigenous Muslim group, the Organisation of Tadhamunul Muslimeen (OTM), facilitators of the exercise, Dr Qaasim Badmaasi, the free medical intervention is designed for the underprivileged by Albasar International Foundation, which focuses on the eradication of cataract in Third World countries.
He said thousands of people with various eyesight problems, 500 of whom would be selected for free cataract surgery, would benefit from the programme, which has been held yearly since 1995.
Patients with less severe eye problems than “matured cases of cataract,” he said, would be offered drugs and eyeglasses, as the case may be, during the programme.
“The medical programme started in 1995. It has been organised yearly since then except for two occasions due to lack of sponsorship. This year’s edition of the health camp is sponsored by the IIRO, whose headquarters is in Saudi Arabia and general office in Kaduna, Kaduna State.
“Albasar International Foundation, experts in cataract eradication in Third World countries, is the organisation seeing to the surgeries and distribution of drugs and eyeglasses. The IIRO is sponsoring this health camp, the first ever in Ilorin, Kwara State, which opens on Sunday, 2 April (tomorrow).
“About 7,000 people with sight challenges yearly throng the camp and every one of them is attended to. Of this number, about 500 patients are selected for surgeries, according to the level of maturity of their cataract. Others are given drugs and eyeglasses.
“The doctors also handle what is called glaucoma-arrest surgery when the disease is only in its early stage. And they do not carry out that kind of surgery in the camp but at their permanent hospitals, some of which are situated in Kano, Kano State and Bauchi, Bauchi State.
The doctors will render free follow-up services for patients that will benefit from the free eye operations,” Dr Badmaasi said.