In continuation of its efforts to reduce the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment in the country, FirstBank Nigeria Limited has conducted free eye screenings for residents of the Old People’s Home, Yaba and students and staff of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) Secondary School, Lagos.
Not less than 1,000 beneficiaries from both institutions enjoyed the free eye screening provided by the bank in partnership with the international organisation, Vision Spring, during the one-week exercise, as part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Sight Day.
Free eyeglasses were also given to beneficiaries who needed them during the screenings – one of the numerous Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S) initiatives through which FirstBank empowers individuals and society.
Speaking on the exercise, Head, Corporate Responsibility, Marketing and Corporate Communications, FirstBank, Ismail Omamegbe, disclosed that it was in continuation of the partnership the bank struck with Vision Spring earlier this year to reduce incidences of blindness and visual impairment among all classes of Nigerians.
He explained that “as a responsible corporate citizen focusing on promoting quality education; good health and welfare for its stakeholders, we needed to reach out to the elderly and pupils after our earlier intervention in June during the second edition of our Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S) Week.”
Omamegbe added that students are also critical stakeholders of the bank and since good vision is essential for learning and acquiring knowledge, FirstBank decided to use YABATECH Secondary School as its pilot intervention for pupils.
“Education, health and welfare are the core areas of our CR&S, and everyone knows that good vision will enable the pupils to acquire knowledge and stay safe at home and in school. The health talk component where they were sensitised on good eye care practices will also make them good change agents. This is just the beginning as we are set to do much more in partnership with Vision Spring,” he stated.
Commending the initiative, the Vice-Principal (Administration), YABATECH Secondary School, Mr. Peter Taiwo Arowolo, said it would save the school administrators from pressures of parents who always demand that their children be sat close in front to the whiteboard because of sight issues.
He said, “This is going to go a long way to enhance teaching and learning in the school. Those who need a pair of glasses are assured of getting one for free after the test. Consequently, there won’t be any cause for parents to be troubling our class teachers again. You can sit anywhere in the class, and you ‘ll learn. Fittingly, teachers and other categories of staff are also beneficiaries. All of us – students and teachers are happy with the eye screening.”
The Country Representative of Vision Spring in Nigeria, Mrs. Tinuke Adeyinka, commended FirstBank for partnering the organisation on the exercise.
She said, “you would be surprised that pupils have cataracts and glaucoma in school these days and it is during exercises like this that you screen them and prevent avoidable blindness in the future. I do commend FirstBank for this initiative. Some organisations give books and renovate buildings, but these children are the ones who will emerge from the building. I’m so happy that they are investing in their health; their eye health, knowing full well that if these pupils can see well, they will excel.”