The IGo team recently traveled to Nigeria with the mission of providing eye-care and general care to primary school children aged 4 and 5. In March, a team that consisted of an ophthalmologist, a community practitioner and public health specialist and nurse traveled with us to make this important trip a success. We are deeply grateful to them for providing their time and expertise to the attention of these children.
Our Ophthalmologist, Dr. Bunmi Ashano, and public health specialist, Dr. Nike Degun, assessed children from two different stations at the school in Yemetu, Aladorin. They documented students who were at-risk and in need of corrective lenses and further follow-up. The school population was much larger than our resources were able to tend to. For that reason, the doctors focused on children aged 4 and 5 years old. In total, 129 students were tested for refractive errors.
Of those children, 4 were diagnosed with contagious eye infections and were prescribed eye drops and antibiotics. One young girl was diagnosed with a severe infection that was causing her eye to swell quite visibly. She was treated immediately.
As is the case in many African countries, knowledge on how to treat and prevent diseases is not well known. In the case of the little girl, the mother thought the infection was merely a boil that would disappear by topically applying Vaseline to the infection. This was a powerful teaching moment for the mother and the school teachers so they could understand how to notice and treat eye infections early on.
The teachers were shown how they could perform the same test to identify children that may need further testing and follow-up. Dr. Bunmi also spoke very clearly about the importance of going above and beyond to look out for the safety and well-being of the student health. Poor health can directly relate to a student’s truancy levels and inability to pay attention. She stressed the importance of keeping children home if they have infectious conditions, at least until they feel better or are no longer contagious.
In addition to the eye care, provided, two children were diagnosed with contagious skin infections that the general practitioner, Dr. Degun, was able to prescribe antibiotics for. In addition, students were given a healthy yogurt snack, pencils, crayons and erasers.
The team also returned to Tiny & Great Creche & Nursery school, it’s first VEE partner, located in Ogbomoso, Nigeria. The school honored its commitment to conduct yearly screenings for students and had just recently concluded one. IGo donated educations toys and school supplies to the children.
We would like to thank Dr. Bunmi, De. Degun, Mr. Moruff (our UK-based nurse who eagerly joined our mission), Segun Leigh, Taiwo Egunjobi, Tolu, Taiwo, and local helpers, Abdulahi and Titi. Without all of you, this trip would not have been possible. We are deeply grateful to you for helping us to sustain IGo’s mission of providing the best eye care possible to children of Nigeria.