The Eye Restoration Intervention Scheme (EyeRIS) program was flagged off on the 11th of January 2016, at the Ibom Hall grounds with several government functionaries and representatives of corporate organizations in attendance. The Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, expressed gratitude to MTN Foundation for their partnership. Mrs Nonny Ugboma, Executive Secretary of MTN Foundation said that the program will provide beneficiaries with various eye treatments and surgeries. The succinct description of the eye as a window to the mind by the founder of FEYReP, Her Excellency, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel underscored the premium her organization places on the well-being of people in Akwa Ibom State. She pointed that FEYReP was a fulfilment of her lifelong passion of empowering the less privileged with skills and information that will enable them live successful lives. She opined that access to free medical care was key to impacting lives in our communities. Based on these, she stressed that the partnership with MTN was a result of months of engaging the partners to design a broad based eye restoration intervention program for people in Akwa Ibom State. She enjoined the people to take advantage of the unique opportunity to avail themselves of the services.
His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo applauded the efforts of Her Excellency and partners of the humanitarian project for initiating a program that will benefit majority of the less privileged. In a related development, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong speaking in an interview affirmed that blindness or visual impairment limits a person’s ability to be independent. He said that it impedes the sufferers opportunity to contribute to the economy. The Consultant Ophthalmologist to the program, Dr. Mildred reiterated the need for people to take advantage of the opportunities that will enable people improve their sight. She said that the EyeRIS project has helped highlight the need for social intervention in eye care especially for the less privileged. The team observed that there were an alarming number of persons with Cataract and Glaucoma in Akwa Ibom State in comparison to other states the team had worked in. At the end of the project, a total of fifteen thousand (15,000) persons were treated, over 2000 medicated glasses were distributed and about 1,540 cataract surgeries were performed.