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Group decries huge number of unemployed optometrists

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The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA), has decried the huge number of Optometrists that are still unemployed in the country, and the resultant brain drain.

NOA in a statement by its President, Dr. Ozy Okonokhua, said the government has refused to employ, even when it is obvious that there are so many localities in the country that do not have any eye care facility, and which will benefit from the services of Optometrists.

The group said: “NOA demands that a deliberate policy be initiated to employ Doctors of Optometry and where needed, posted to Primary Health Care centres (at least one optometrist in one local government) all over the country.

“Despite the obvious importance of Optometrists in our nation, and the many efforts the NOA has put in towards the eradication of blindness, Optometrists still face a lot of challenges in the public health care system.
“Optometrists, as primary health care professionals in eye care have contributed towards the eradication of blindness in our nation.”

According to Okonokhua, employing more optometrists will bring eye care services closer to the people, and go a long way in reducing the burden many rural dwellers face in traveling to big cities to access eye care services.
He maintained that the resultant effect would lead to a reduction in the incidence and prevalence of blinding diseases in Nigeria.

Okonokhua noted that NAO has invested so much in public health awareness especially during the annual World Glaucoma Week, and World Sight Day events, adding that, every year, Optometrists devote their time and services towards educating the masses on the dangers of glaucoma and other causes of avoidable blindness.

He said the association will continue to engage policymakers on the subject matter as well as many other policies towards the eradication of blindness in the country.


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