ARUA. The state minister for primary health care Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu has asked non-governmental organizations (NGO’S) implementing health projects to have a thorough emphasis on prevention methods.
Dr Moriku while launching a three-year eye project dubbed foreseeing inclusion, eye health and disability in Northern Uganda said many people in the society continue being exposed to habits and conditions that can cause eye defects and yet no one cares to sensitize them on the dangers.
“The youth are 24/7 on their mobile phones, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. and yet nobody guides them on the dangers of overusing these phones”.
“When the children are not at school, they watch television from morning to sunset and yet no one talks to them about the dangers”
“You get our mothers every day coming out with tears from the kitchen due to smoke because the kitchen has no windows, what do you expect in the long run?” Moriku asked shortly before the launch of the project on Thursday at Arua district board room.
The project, slightly above Euros1.5million is funded by the Italian government through the Italian agency for cooperation and development and implemented by the Christian Blind Mission (CBM) and doctors with Africa (CUAMM).
Its main objective is to improve access to quality eye care services delivery and promotion of disability-inclusive development in the selected districts of Arua, Lamwo, and Kitgum.
Mr Massimiliano Mazzanti, the Italian ambassador to Uganda on the same occasion noted the low coverage of eye-related problems in the West Nile and Acholi sub-regions with the problems further escalated by the refugee crisis in the two regions.
Despite statistics indicating over 1.2 million people suffering from different eye problems across the country, Ambassador Mazzanti said the motivation of the Italian government to fund the project was based on the fact that 75% of the cases can be treated if given immediate attention.
He also called on the local governments to include persons with disabilities in their programs to promote inclusive development.
Ambassador Mazzanti applauded the cordial working relations between the two countries asserting that Italians who came to Uganda as early as 1956 for the sake of the poor had come to stay, unlike other countries.
DR Peter Lochoro, the country representative CUAMM noted that there were some health conditions that had been ignored for long and not given the attention they deserve including eye health thereby necessitating the project.
He thanked the Ministry of Health for providing what he called a platform where services can be offered to the most vulnerable.
His counterpart, Ms Jackie Marlene of CMB reiterated their commitment to improving the quality of life of the people with disabilities in the poorest countries in the world in line with their objective of existence.
Ms Jane Longo Ayikoru, a community development officer (CDO) in Arua district who is visually impaired expressed optimism that many sights would be saved through the project.
“Some of us lost our sight due to negligence and that time if there were organizations like CUAMM, I don’t think I would be blind right now; the world is beautiful and it’s so depressing not to see this beautiful world”, Ayikoru narrated drawing dead silence and sympathy from the audience.
According to the Health information system statistics of Arua district of the calendar year ending 31st December 2019, the district had over 25,800 eye-related cases with Cataract, refractive errors, Trachoma the major infections.