NOA Earmarks 3 National Eye Centres for Abia in First Phase of Nationwide Project

NOA Earmarks 3 National Eye Centres for Abia in First Phase of Nationwide Project

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia

The Nigerian Optometric Association(NOA) has said it would set up three national eye centres in Abia State to be sited in selected primary healthcare centres.

Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti received the cheering news when he met the executive members of the NOA along with the representative of the global eyecare charity, One Sight Essilor Luxottica Foundation.

He welcomed the decision of NOA to establish the eyecare facilities in Abia, pledging to give the association all the support needed to make the project a reality.

Otti said that government would identify the areas where the centres would be located and provide the appropriate logistics support for their take off.

He thanked the association for its decision to consider Abia as one of the states to implement the first phase of the planned eye vision centres across the nation.

The Abia Governor, who was elated by the proposed eye centres enthused that “what is important for now is to take advantage of the offer and work closely with (NOA)”, adding that “like Oliver Twist we will always ask for more”.

He noted that the project aimed at addressing the prevalence of visual impairment due to refractive errors has come at the right time given that his administration had just commenced renovation of primary healthcare centres.

The Abia Governor therefore stated that the state would factor the eye centre project into the design and implementation of the renovation of the primary healthcare centres so that it would be realised promptly.

He further told the visiting eye doctors that his government had embarked on the renovation and retrofitting of the 15 general hospitals in the state, after which the primary healthcare centres would follow suit.

The National President of NOA, Dr Chimeziri Anderson, who led the delegation, had in his address, said the One Sight Essilor Luxottica Foundation had decided to set up optical laboratories in select regions of Nigeria.

He said that Umuahia, the capital city of Abia State, was chosen for the Eastern Region hence his association had considered Abia as one of the states where the first phase of first level Vision Centres would be set up.

Anderson emphasised that the facility must be located at the primary healthcare centres at no cost to the government, adding that the project which would cover the 36 states, and the FCT.

He explained the choice of Abia to kick-start the project implementation, saying that it was in recognition of Governor Otti’s healthcare drive which is evident by his increased budgetary allocation to the health sector.

He requested for the commencement of internship training for optometrists in Abia’s higher institutions, engagement of Optometrists per local government through the primary health development agency to extend eye care services to rural areas.

The NOA President also asked for the review of salaries and allowances of optometry doctors in the Abia State civil service, with Governor Otti assuring him that it would be treated in a holistic salary review exercise.

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