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We can see faintly now, say Kaduna eye patients blinded by injection

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They approached the National Eye Centre, Kaduna for poor eye sight due to cataract and other ailments, but the 10 patients went blind for three weeks after taking an injection at the centre.

Now, nine of them can see faintly after series of corrective medical procedures.

The Nation had reported that the 10 patients went blind after they were given a Russian made Avastin injection on May 28. Four of the patients were affected in both eyes, while the rest lost one eye each.

The hospital management and the National Agency for Foods, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) made frantic efforts to unravel the cause of the blindness, which is yet to be disclosed.

However, the corrective surgeries carried out on the patients on Tuesday were successful as only one of the patients still cannot see at all.

When the hospital management invited journalists to interact with the patients, they said, their sights were gradually returning, though they were yet to return fully to what their situation was when they came to the hospital.

The management said the speedy recovery of the patients was miraculous, as they never expected it to be that fast.

One of the patients, who described their three weeks blindness as an accident, said she could now identify colours of dresses and notice moving objects unlike in previous weeks.

She, however, commended the hospital’s management for taking full responsibility for the incident, though she insisted that thorough investigation be carried out to unravel the mystery behind their blindness.

She said: “We need to know what led to the blindness. Could it be as a result of contamination of the injection? Is it from the supplier, hospital or manufacturer?

“We were told that the full recovery could take up to three months and we hope so. At the moment, I am not seeing fully except to identify colours that are very close to me.”

For 71 years old Rosadeen Rakiya, she was scared of going permanently blind and had gone to another hospital after the incident, where it was confirmed to her that she would regain her sight.

Rakiya said: “Two of my eyes were injected and I could not see again thereafter. But following the treatment we have been receiving, I can see but not clearly yet. But I can walk on my own now.

“The doctors told us that our sights would improve gradually. After the incident, I went to another hospital to find out if I could see again and I was told I would see again.

“Today, I am happy I can see, even though not completely clear. For two weeks after the injection, I could not see, but I thank God today.”

Another patient, Hajara Husaaini, whose one eye was affected, also confirmed improvement in her vision after the surgery and commended the hospital management for its efforts

According her, “the hospital, since the incident, havs been treating us for free, and as at today (Wednesday), I can see with the eye slightly.

“The hospital still treats us and the doctors have assured us that all will be well.”

However, contrary to the accounts of others, Mr. Zakariah Idzy said he still could not see anything even after the surgery.

He said: “I have gone through series of operations since the incident but I am still not seeing. About four doctors carried out various tests on me but my situation still remains the same. Although a female doctor told me the healing will be gradual and I hope so.”

Idzy’s wife, who cried as she spoke to journalists, lamented that the situation of her husband, being the breadwinner of the family, has caused untold hardship, as they now borrow money to feed.

“I presently borrow money to feed the family and even to come to the hospital to see my husband. My daughter has left all she is doing to remain here with the father while I take care of the home,” she said.

But, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Mahmoud Alhassan, assured that, like others, Mr. Idzy will regain his sight too and very soon.

The CMD reiterated the commitment of the hospital to doing all it takes to address the situation, saying that the hospital had since the incident been up and doing on their case, working round the clock, which has resulted in tremendous successes.

He explained that, what happened was an accident which the hospital has learnt a lot from and will guard against.

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