The governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has expressed his delight with the substantial number of optometrists who have remained in the nation despite ongoing brain drain, Entrepreneurng report.
The governor announced this on Thursday at a conference held in Lagos to mark the annual observance of World Optometry Day by the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA).
The symposium, with the title “The Optometrist: Delivering Seeing For All,” was organized to honor all optometrists for their contributions to eye care.
The International Optometric and Optical League established the celebration day in 1986 to acknowledge the expansion of the optometry profession globally and the critical role that optometrists play in the delivery of comprehensive eye care to the general public.
Sanwo-Olu stated, “The first thing that impressed me is the number of optometrists that are here today,” through the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi.
It’s wonderful to observe that even though many of our qualified optometrists are leaving Lagos and Nigeria and moving abroad, a sizable number are still residing in Lagos.
That either implies we’re producing enough optometrists to handle the brain drain, or the atmosphere is favorable for them to practice, so many of them are remaining behind. And the neighborhood is appreciating their talent and the advantages they offer us. I so come here today primarily to support the association.
“However, at the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with specialists traveling overseas to explore and be exposed.”
The optometry environment here appears to be highly conducive for professionals to practice, to be happy, and to offer a very nice service to the inhabitants of the state, therefore it is evident that they will want to return.
The National President of NOA, Dr. Obinna Awiaka, encouraged the government to give its members and healthcare workers’ welfare more consideration, noting that brain drain was a significant problem.
He claimed that Nigeria was running out of optometrists and physicians to staff its healthcare institutions and added that they had all emigrated to the United Kingdom, the United States, and Saudi Arabia in search of “greener pastures.”
A productive life depends on having a clear vision and good eyesight, so universal access to primary eye care is crucial. The primary eye care practitioner, the optometrist, is responsible for assisting patients and their families in taking the first step toward healthier eyes and healthier lives. Primary eye care is crucial in the prevention of preventable blindness and visual impairment.
To effectively promote and offer eye care to everyone, it is crucial that stakeholders in the field, such as optometrists, are recognized, projected, empowered, and included in teams and initiatives.