First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in partnership with the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation (TCF) will provide free corrective eyes surgeries to 350,000 Nigerians in the country.
The beneficiaries cut across Cross River, Ogun, Kebbi, Imo, Abuja, Katsina, and Adamawa, among other states, who benefitted from free testing, optical services, surgeries, free glasses, and eye disease management through the initiative.
Showering encomiums on FCMB and TCF, Stephen Oyedokun, a beneficiary of the free eye surgery, said: “For many years, I have been using glasses. But suddenly, in April 2021, I felt my eyesight dwindling, and I could not see things well. The situation was becoming worse and affected everything I was doing. I then heard about the Priceless Gift of Sight programme.
“After visiting the hospital for assessment, I went through the surgery successfully. Everything was free. Today, I have my eyes and life back. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate FCMB and Tulsi Chanrai Foundation for moving people from darkness to light.”
Another beneficiary, Helen Simon, expressed gratitude to FCMB for restoring her sight and the opportunity to move forward with her life and use “my side effectively again,” she said.
The trader revealed that she suffered from a severe eye defect and was losing hope until a neighbour informed her about the Priceless Gift of Sight programme.
FCMB had initiated the priceless Gift of Sight in 2009 as the bank aimed to lessen the prevalence of avoidable blindness and unnecessary visual impairment in Nigeria’s rural peri-urban communities.
The First City Monument Bank’s implementing partner is the Tulsi Chanrai Foundation, a foremost non-governmental organisation enhancing the availability and affordability of health care services in remote areas of Nigeria.
TCF’s three focus areas are restoring sight, ensuring access to primary health care, and providing safe drinking water.
TCF Eye Hospital in Abuja, Arun Blasi said,“We have worked with FCMB for fourteen years. It has been a very healthy relationship, benefitting thousands of people. With the Bank’s support, we have performed 20,000 successful eye surgeries and reached over 30,000 outpatients. We thank First City Monument Bank for its support over the years and request that the Bank continue to work with us to turn around the lives of people for the better.”
Blasi further explained that the foundation visits communities across Nigeria for eyesight screening outreach programmes as it transports those discovered to have eye defects and admits them for two to three days for further tests and surgery.
During this period, the Foundation provides all their medical needs, including feeding. After the surgery and monitoring, they are discharged and transported back home. The entire cycle is completed without any cost to the patients.
FCMB Group Chief Executive, Ladi Balogun, said blindness is a disability that often causes loss of income and extreme poverty “simply because it restricts mobility, begets social isolation, poor mental health, and limited access to information.”
He called for improved advocacy and the need to make eye care an integral part of universal health coverage.
According to the Managing Director of FCMB, Yemisi Edun, over one million blind adults live in Nigeria.
She said the need to prevent more from going blind because they cannot access eye care birthed the Priceless Gift of Sight, which has flattened the curve.