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Address healthcare workers’ plights, NOA tells government

Address healthcare workers’ plights, NOA tells government

By Matthew Atungwu

The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) has called on the federal government to address the issues surrounding the plights of healthcare workers in Nigeria, in order to give the country a fighting chance to avoid the impending blindness epidemic.

The National President of the Association, Dr Obinna Awiaka made this call at a press conference heralding the 45th Annual Conference, Vision Expo and Annual General Meeting of the Association.

Dr Obinna said eye care at all levels of healthcare, especially primary eye care needs maximum attention in order to ensure that more people are reached.

According to Dr Obinna, the event affords Optometrists and other conference delegates the opportunity for a socio-cultural understanding of cities and cultures in Nigeria, as well as business and social interactions amongst others.

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He said as eye care professionals, they would continue to give their best to help change the narrative, calling on all potential stakeholders to join them as they seek to leverage on partnerships to improve eye health care delivery in Nigeria; hence the theme for the programme, ‘Leveraging on Partnerships to Transform Optometry and Eye Care in West Africa.’

Lamenting on the negative effects of eye challenges, Dr Obinna said nearly 300 million people are blind across the world; about 90% of them live in developing countries and nearly seven million of them in Nigeria, adding that the percentage of people living with visual disabilities across the world is almost 40%, and Nigeria has close to 50 million persons that have some form of visual disability or the other, limiting their ability to work, learn or play.

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According to him, 80% of the causes of blindness and visual disabilities across the world are avoidable; they can either be prevented or treated, stressing that the massive brain drain of eye care professionals and other health care professionals from Nigeria to other countries has worsened the burden of blindness statistics in the country.

Dr Obinna said over the years, the Nigerian Optometric Association Conference has grown to become Africa’s biggest gathering of eye care professionals with vast opportunities to explore across the various spectrums of endeavours, emphasizing that key people of influence across the world, now explore the platform to get their messages, as relates to eye care and public health.

Address healthcare workers’ plights, NOA tells government

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