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Published On: Mon, May 26th, 2014

Jajere Foundation: Reviving the lost sights

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By Muhammad Al-Ameen

For decades, the people of Nyakire and zoto communities in Damagum local government area of Yobe state had lived with the superstitious belief that evil spirits were associated with the loss of sight in the communities. Some of the villagers resort to herbs and orthodox medicine negating conventional treatment, others simply lost hope and waited for the ultimate end that is, loss of sight.

It was obvious that the people had suffered long ignorance arising from their traditional belief and so, that ignorance caused them a huge loss of this important and precious organ. After such a long generational suffering, the end to this revered belief is obviously nearing an end. These communities have now been scientifically diagnosed with infection of severe glaucoma and trachoma, courtesy of the free eye treatment sponsored by the Senator Abdulkadir Alkali Jajere foundation, in whose constituency these communities are situated.

It is amazing that in 21st century, it took so long for these communities to be relieved from this pathetic situation and, to have their sight treated and saved. According to Dr. Salman Rabiu, team leader of the specialists providing treatment to the communities, the dry weather, sandy winds and untreated water used by the people have been responsible for the twin diseases suffered by the villagers.

Dr Rabiu, regretted that many victims who lost their sights years back would have been saved because, the cases were preventable and treatable when detected at early stage.

Dr Rabiu said “It costs about N50, 000 to treat one eye and, I believe with support from the Jajere foundation and other local and international Non-Governmental Organisations, a lot of people would have their eyes restored and saved from going blind” Although 1,200 people have recovered their eyes hundred others were out there waiting for another opportunity to save them from losing their sights.

In Damagum, it was a long queue, just as it was in Potiskum, Fika and Nangere with the patients receiving drugs, eye glasses while others were referred to General Hospital Potiskum for surgery sponsored by the foundation. As it treats 1,200 patients at the four centres simultaneously for two days, it is necessary that other politicians who also benefitted from the people’s mandate should emulate this gesture and pay the society back. The mass turn-out of people clearly demonstrates the people’s determination to move away from the old tradition of using herbs and other forms of traditional treatment to embrace the conventional treatment provided by the foundation.

It is exciting to see old men and women discarding their walking sticks for a new productive life that is beneficial to them as individuals and the society at large. Similarly, school aged children who spend better parts of their lives as guide to their parents will have the opportunity to attend schools for a prosperous future. It is therefore pertinent that other politicians and NGOs to come to the aid of these communities to stamp out this scourge, to give the communities a new lease of life and prosperous future.

Intervention from individuals such as this, will definitely compliment government efforts in meeting the needs and aspirations of the citizenry and, especially restoring the critical human organ such as the eyes.

Certainly, we can do more to save these people from their present predicament to give them a life full of hope and opportunities for the betterment of their Ives, the nation and humanity.

Muhammed Al-Ameen can be reached on

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