United Kingdom registered charity Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Sightsavers has debunked recent reports that new cases of River blindness has been discovered in parts of Kaduna State.
According to Kaduna State DFID-NTDs programme Officer, Sightsavers Nigeria, Abdulkadir Isah in a statement made available to newsmen in Kaduna yesterday, while denying earlier media report that hundreds of people were at risk of rivers blindness in Kaduna State, pointed out that a survey covering epidemiological, entomological and ophthalmological investigations was conducted to asses the claims and which was found out to untrue.
He disclosed however that 80 percent of all types of blindness could be prevented and cured, adding that since the establishment of the foundation about 30 years ago, the NGO had restored over nine million sights, as well as trained over 5000 primary eye care workers.
He said, “Teams of surveyors used standard methodologies such as rapid assessment blindness examinations and skin snip samples to check communities for the disease.
“Surveyors also carried out a search for black flies, the vector of the disease, and their larvae along river banks in the communities and laboratory examinations of the flies for presence of onchocerca volvulus, the causative agent of the disease.
“The result of the survey showed an absence of adult black fly in the communities and the analysis of the skin snip tests were negative for the disease, proving that there is not a presence of river blindness in these communities.
“The ophthalmological investigation showed a blindness prevalence of 2.5 percent. It was found that three of the eight blind people were blind as a result of optic atrophy attributable to river blindness, but all three people were above 50 years of age, thereby indicating that these are not new cases of river blindness.
“Sightsavers has been operating a river blindness drug distribution programme and assessment programme to reduce the number of people contracting river blindness and also monitor the occurrence of new cases”.