Blindness Bow To Stitch-Blade As SEPLAT Free Health Initiative, “Eye Can See” Reaches New Height

By Emmanuel Otokhine

A wave of joy is spreading through communities in Edo and Delta States as blindness and other visual impairment bow to the stitch blade, eye drugs and prescription glasses, courtesy of SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Plc.

In the various communities scenes of singing and dancing women, men, youths and children have become a common sight as people who were literally blind as a result of cataract and damaged lens have had their sight restored through surgery. People with visual impairment that can be corrected through drugs and prescription glasses have also benefitted from the ongoing Seplat Corporate Social Investment programme, 'Eye Can See'.

With the surging crowd already witnessed in the locations where the team has visited, SEPLAT say, its popular Corporate Social Responsibility programme will reach more people this year than in any of the previous two years.

When the 2014 edition of the SEPLAT's flagship free quality health initiative was launched in Delta state about three weeks ago, scores of aged men and women clinging on to hope, stormed Okpe hall, Sapele, venue of the programme, some of them arriving as early as 7 am.

Armed with determination to benefit from the programme, they filled up every available space on the ground. The aged, the young and the very young, took their place on several long and winding queue as they stopped at various pints to be attended by an array of highly experienced local medical doctors including ophthalmology surgeons, opticians / ophthalmologists and consultants, pharmacists, and nurses which the oil company, SEPLAT has put together to help implement the programme. After having their vital signs checkup, they proceeded to have their eye examined. Even the very elderly, the very young and many local women from far and near were attended to.

The programme will run for more than one month and would cover 49 communities in Edo and Delta States.

The opening ceremony attracted both patients and members of the traditional institutions, government officials and the representatives of the medical community as well as the local media.

Welcoming guests to the programme, Dr. Chioma Nwachuku, GM Corporate Affairs & NBD, said it the desire of the company to continue to put smile on the faces of the people in the areas where it operates. While noting that the programme which is now in its 3rd year has been beneficial to thousands of people, she explained that more eye surgeries will be performed this year in addition to providing treatment for diabetes, hypertension and eye ailments including distribution of prescription glasses to those who need them. She said the company has taken care to engage the services of and highly skilled and experienced medical team to ensure the people get the best eye care, adding that the team would go round 49 communities and would in addition provide counseling service.

In his address at the occasion, the MD/CEO said that the company is committed on improving the quality of lives in the areas where it operates by providing access to free quality and comprehensive medical care amongst other initiatives. The MD who was represented by Bryte Oghor, GM, HSSE &b Community Relations, advised the communities, particularly youths in the area to maintain peace in the area so that Seplat can continue its good work. He said the company has demonstrated to the people since it started its operation in the area that it is credible and truly care for them, urging them to continue to support its projects so that they can enjoy more benefits.

Also speaking on the event, the leader of the medical team, Dr. Isaiah told the people to always take good care of their health and to utilize the opportunity provided by Seplat, particularly so, since the programme is free of charge. He said his well trained and experienced team was well motivated by SEPLAT to give the people quality eye health care service.

Additionally, representatives of the state governments, the communities and traditional rulers commended Seplat for bringing such initiative to the area.

According to the SEPLATs head of Corporate Communication, Emmanuel Otokhine, the programme was first launched in 2012 by SEPLAT and the National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC). The SEPLAT CSR team in the communities is led by Mrs Esther Icha, Manager Corporate Social Responsibility.