Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo says there is reduction in expenditure of sending patients outside the country for specialised treatment due to the investment of more than 5 million US dollars in the procurement of eye equipment.
And Mr Lusambo has said government is committed to fight against blindness in the country and to improving the wellbeing of its citizens.
Mr Lusambo said blindness is great concern to government because it negatively impacts on the social-economic status of the country.
‘’The Zambian government was spending a lot of money on patients seeking medical help outside the country, procuring of this equipment has reduced the cost immensely. Our mission as government is to eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020,’’ Mr Lusambo said.
Speaking during the commemoration of world sight day at Kitwe Central Hospital (KCH), Copperbelt Deputy Permanent Secretary Elias Kamanga who read the speech on behalf of the minister commended the Kitwe eye hospital for continuously conducting sight giving surgical operations of which the majority are cataract extractions.
And Medical Officer Dr Kennedy Gondwe said the problem of blindness can only be eradicated when proper interventions are put in place in order to reverse the situation.
Dr Gondwe said Kitwe Central Hospital embarked on a community eye care program in 2002 to give support to government in eliminating avoidable blindness adding that since inception 400,000 new and old patients have been attended to and over 30,000 cataract operations have been performed.
He disclosed that the hospital has moved to stage two of eye care of providing specialists clinics on medical retina, paediatrics and glaucoma.
He commended government for procuring ophthalmic equipment last year for the eye department amounting to one million US dollars stating that such a gesture just shows government’s resolve to stop its citizens from going blind unnecessarily.
Meanwhile lions club district 413 Governor Danny Zyambo said the lion club takes great pleasure to partner with government especially in issues related to eye sight.
Mr Zyambo said his organisation will always supplement government’s efforts in infrastructure development by improving the living standards of people and will not relent in supporting the government of the day.
He urged government through the Ministry of Health to send medical personnel to Luapula province and help with the eye related cases that are still pending due to lack of a medical officer in the area.
World sight day is a global initiative providing an opportunity to raise awareness about the causes of blindness and vision impairment and the preventative measures that can be implemented.
This years’ world sight day will fall on Thursday 13th October 2016 under the theme ‘Stronger Together in fighting blindness’.