Dwindling manpower in eye care, worrisome

Acting National Chairman, Nigeria Ophthalmic Nurses Association (NONA), Mr Stephen Lamiya, has decried the dwindling manpower in the eye care profession, saying Nigeria has less than 2000 ophthalmic nurses.

Lamiya, who spoke at the opening of NONA’s annual national scientific conference in Ibadan, stated that the number was grossly inadequate considering the nation’s population.

The association’s chairman, who called for the employment of more nurses both at the tertiary and secondary health institutions to fill the gap, argued that training in this subspecialty of nursing was also important.

He expressed the displeasure of the association on deployment of ophthalmic nurses to areas outside their field of speciality, asking “the authorities concerned to refrain from this ignoble act that can destroy the zeal of specialisation in nursing”.

Lamiya said the 2016 annual scientific conference was to build the capacity of its members to provide excellent eye health services, based on the experiences of members of the association in the course of their practice and the threat eye conditions in children poses to the country.

He announced that the association was also providing free eye care services and 200 pairs of reading glasses as part of its activities for the conference.

National president, Nigerian Association of Nurses and Midwives of Nigeria, (NANNM), Mr Abdrafiu Adeniji, noted the importance of ophthalmic nurses to the eye, urging them to also extend eye treatment services to nurses, too.

Adeniji, represented at the occasion by Mrs Rukayat Afonja, declared that they should also prioritise eye health in nurses, since they also have eye challenges and this could affect their practice.

Oyo State Commissioner of Health, Dr Azeez Adeduntan, who spoke through the Director, Nursing Services, Mr Taiwo Ajiboye, stated that eyes were indicators of a person’s health, and keeping them in good shape was vital to wellness, especially in children.

Adeduntan, stating that early diagnosis and treatment were critical to maintaining the child’s health, urged that special attention should always be given to the screening and prevention of eye diseases.

According to him, “about 285 million people around the world suffer from vision impairment, 39 million of this population are completely blind and the remaining has some degree of vision impairment from moderate to severe.

“More than 80 per cent of all these cases could have been prevented or treated if action had been taken at the onset of these conditions.