By Sola Ogundipe
IN continuation of its relentless campaign against one of the world’s most deadly blinding disorders, glaucoma, Pfizer has urged Nigerians from all walks of life to utilise their unique platforms to help in informing and creating public awareness about the disease.
Making the call during an advocacy visit to the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, in his palace last week, the Director of Corporate Affairs, Pfizer Nigeria and East Africa Region, NEAR, Mrs Margaret Olele, said it was important to Pfizer that people have the right information and awareness about glaucoma.
Olele who led the Pfizer delegation said it was also essential that the people also have access to appropriate healthcare services and good quality medicines in order to prevent the blinding disease, which a lot of people do not know about because it comes like a thief in the night.
“For us (Pfizer) we believe that the conversation around glaucoma at this point in time is really very critical in terms of awareness, and the stronger the voices, the better the outcomes. So we we need the voices of strong advocates like the voice of the Royal Majesty of Lagos.”
Olele said the whole idea behind the visit was to further propagate the information about prevention and screening of glaucoma. “Sometimes people may not know that the disease is there because it has no symptoms and that is why it is called the silent thief of sight. So this meeting with the Oba of Lagos at this critical point and a major landmark for us.”
In her view, Nigeria, and the world at large, require serious advocates that can share their experiences to let people know and to give them hope.
“We are going to be doing more of this to give hope to patients. A voice like this gives us hope that things can happen and things are possible and the only thing you need to do is to know about glaucoma is to detect it early and treat it early.
In his comments, Oba Akiolu who declared that he managed glaucoma for more than four decades, said the way out was regular screening and a healthy lifestyle. He said glaucoma does not occur with readily noticeable symptoms that cause irreversible blindness.
Commending Pfizer’s gesture, he said: “Glaucoma is not curable but is controllable. I’m always telling the people to have their eyes checked regularly at least once a year. “Creating awareness is necessary to enable people know about the need to take proper care of their eyes and to prevent the complications of glaucoma.”