By MUSA DISO
Eye infections notably cataract and glaucoma, have been described as the major causes of partial or total
blindness among Africans and other Asian nations. This was the observation of the regional medical
director of Makkah Specialist Eye Hospital, Kano, Dr. Azmat Shah in an interview with journalists in his
office in Kano recently.
According to the eye expert, a number of eye ailments are never disclosed by victims on their onset until
when the situation gets worse of which time, it has become somewhat impossible to merely treat, except
And he advised thus: “I call on the general public to always report signs of eye disease or eye related
affliction at its earliest stage to avoid complications that could lead to blindness at any eye specialist
Dr. Shah also observed that a lot of people within the African continent as research has shown, are not
interested in conducting regular tests of their eyes to detect any of the ophthalmic problems, hence make
their eyes vulnerable to all forms of hazardous elements which on the long run, may ruin their eye sight.
He, therefore, urged people within the urban and rural areas to ensure that their eyes are always in good
form through regular checks by recognized eye specialist and not through unorthodox means, a
situation which the expert says may complication matters.
He said Makkah Specialist Hospital through the Al-basar International Foundation, has made tremendous
achievement over the years particularly in its humanitarian services to eye disease victims in which
thousands with eye infections notably cataract and glaucoma, were either treated or operated free without
any charge between 1994 and 2017.
He said 63 free eye camps were conducted in Kano, Katsina, Kaduna and Borno states. Others include
Oyo, Niger, Kebbi, Sokoto and Bauchi states, while 325,058 patients were screened and diagnosed. At
the same time, 25,788 successful surgeries were done and 210,37 intra-occular lenses were implanted,
while 56,520 reading glasses distributed all free.
Dr. Azmat also revealed that as an efficient eye hospital, Makkah Specialist Eye Hospital has trained 12
number of resident ophthalmologists, one ophthalmologists as vitreo retina surgeon, ten community health
extension workers in primary eye care and 100 (300-level) students of School of Nursing and Midwifery
Kano each year.
He further added that two specialist eye hospitals were established in Kano and Bauchi states in 2004 and
2009, respectively, adding that Makkah Specialist Eye Hospital is an affiliation of Aminu Kano Teaching
Hospital (AKTH) for providing training, capacity building and local manpower.
The doctor pointed out that the hospital had from 2004 to 2017, treated 813,321 eye cases and operated
68,824 in Kano alone. And from 2009 to 2017, its Bauchi counterpart treated 168,882 cases with 10,774
others operated. Thus total of patients treated in the two states were 982,103 and a total of 79,598 cases
operated in both states as well.