optometrist NOA
 80% of Nigeria's optometrists work in the private sector while only 20% work in the public sector.

NOA: Only 20% Of Nigeria’s Optometrists Operate In Public Health Sector

According to the Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA), the current State of Primary Health Care facilities functioning in Nigeria is alarmingly low as approximately 80% of the 6000 optometrists in Nigeria work in the private sector leaving only about 20% in the public sector.

In a communique issued at the end of the 46th National Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Association, it was disclosed that the 20% ratio of optometrists in the public sector provides primary health care in the rural and suburban areas that constitute most of the population of the country.

The Communique signed by the association’s President and National Secretary, respectively, Dr. Anderson Chimeziri and Dr. Victor Aliche, said ignorance and poor accessibility are some of the major causes of vision impairment and loss adding that over 1 billion people globally will be blind by 2025.

The association noted that one of the primary responsibilities of government is to cater for the welfare of its citizens but expressed regret, saying that certain types of equipment needed in the delivery of health care services are severely overtaxed by customs.

“The federal government should pay compelling attention to the health sector especially primary health care, for a strong and healthy nation to emerge. The government should provide the necessary environment for people to access quality and efficient eye care services.

The association noted that the over 1 billion people who will be blind globally by 2025 will affect productivity, national growth, and family life if adequate interventions are not effected adding that poor out-door/prolonged near work activities like use of computers, telephones, TV, laptop, eye pads are major causes of eye and vision problems.

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“Parents are encouraged to allow their children to participate in healthier outdoor activities to reduce prolonged near work like use of mobile phones, laptops, eye pads and sitting close to the TV. There should be a break of about 20 seconds and relaxation of the eyes by looking at distant objects after about 20 minutes of near work.

The association maintained that a single comprehensive eye exam conducted by an optometrist can lead to a variety of favourable outcomes which range from the discovery of previously undetected eye and health problems like glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health conditions.

The communique reads: “Our sense of sight is one of the critical aspects of our daily lives, which enables us to communicate with the world around us and perform numerous essential tasks. Thus, when people have vision loss, it changes the way they live and decreases their physical and social activities which ultimately affects the brain function leading to cognitive decline.

Earlier in his address, NOA’s Former President, Dr. Obinna Awiaka expressed concerns about the state of the economy and security in the country and the increased rate of violent clashes. He called on the government to step up action towards addressing the immediate and remote causes of the problems.

Dr. Awiaka also urged for a lasting solution to be found for the welfare and peace in the affected areas, adding that the association has resolved to remain a law-abiding, peaceful, and purposeful organization that is dedicated to her objectives, and assisting the government in achieving all its well-intentioned programmes especially those principally affecting the health sector.