Optometrist Flays Dearth of Members in Edo

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The President of the Nigerian Postgraduate College of Optometrists (NPCO), Professor Uche Ikonne, has cried out that the dearth of optometrists in the Edo State’s health sector has gross negative impact on the wellbeing of the people of the state.

Ikonne stated this at the 14th Annual General Meeting/Induction Ceremony of NPCO that was held in Benin City at the weekend.

Ikonne, who was represented by the Vice President of the NPCO, Professor Franklin Kio,  said that the last recruitment done in Edo State was 12 years ago, adding that the “shortfall in our various hospitals is having an untold hardship on the wellbeing of the people of the state.

“In Edo State, we have very few optometrists working. So in order for them to be very effective, you need to have many of them working, particularly in rural areas. All citizens of Edo State desire good eye care.

“So, when you have an optometrist in an area, he will be able to capture the people who have eye problems there and refer when necessary in other to safeguard their eyes.

“That is why we are saying to Edo State Government to please, employ more optometrists.

“From record, the people in service now have spent 12 years already, and no new optometrists had come into the service. There seems to be some silent embargoes on the employment of optometrists.

“The thing is that the citizens of Edo State don’t have the opportunity of getting good regular eye care. For example, if you have an eye problem, you have to come from Ekpoma now to Benin City to visit the teaching hospital if you don’t visit the private clinics, which are few anyway.

“We think there should be opportunity for the people in Ekpoma to have optometrists’ services in Ekpoma, in Irrua, Uhunmwode, in Ologbo, Auchi. We may have one or two scattered around, but they are not enough, and they are not equipped enough.” 

He said the college, which began about two and a half decades ago, has graduated over 100 fellows, adding that twenty-seven new members have just been inducted.

Delivering his keynote address on the theme, “Excellence in Eye Care: From Research to Clinical Practice,” Professor F. E. Okieimen, urged optometrists to embark on more researches in order to better the lots of the profession just as he tasked the management of the University of Benin to do everything in its power to make optometry a faculty rather than remaining a department it has been over the years.

Earlier, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who was represented by the Commissioner for Health, Professor Obehi Akoria, expressed confidence that the new inductees have been well tutored, urging them to uphold the tenets of their profession.

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