On Thursday, the Seventh day of February 2019, people from all walks of life from around the world gathered in the serene city of Uyo, capital city of Akwa Ibom state in Nigeria to lay to rest the remains of an eminent ambassador of Nigeria, and an icon of the Optometry profession, Dr Uduak Udom who passed on peacefully in the early hours of Monday, 14th January 2019, at her home in Uyo after a protracted illness. She was aged 63.
The funeral rites which began a day earlier with a TESTIMONY/SONGS NIGHT held at the SHEERGRACE ARENA, Uyo, saw a great multitude turn out to attest to the kind of life the late Dr Uduak Udom led. Eulogies poured in from various quarters including a number of international agencies with which the late Dr Uduak Udom has collaborated.
The next day saw a motorcade convey the remains of the first female Nigeria-trained optometrist from the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital to the expansive UNITY PARK GROUNDS, Uyo were a funeral ceremony was held in her honour.
The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) led from the front in the entire burial programme. Members shelved competing engagements to troupe out en masse to give their illustrious colleague and leader a deserving send forth. In a tribute read by her President, Dr Ozy Okonokhua, the NOA said the demise of Dr Uduak Udom shook the optometry world. She was described as “a colossus, a quintessential professional and our leader per excellence”……(who) “went beyond the ordinary to impact on all parts of the eye care delivery system hence restoring gifts of sight to thousands.”…(and) positively influenced the way many of us perceive our professional calling…..(instilling) in us all an uncanny sense of duty to the society”. The NOA highlighted some of the noble achievements of Dr Uduak Udom to include facilitating the donation of clinical equipment to Optometry schools in Nigeria, scholarships for optometry students in Nigeria, training of Optometry Advocates in Nigeria by international optometry organisations, among others.
Dr Uduak Udom was a first generation member of the Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) who by sheer diligence and relevance rose through the ranks and assumed numerous responsibilities. She was once the chapter Vice Chair for NOA in Cross River, Akwa Ibom Chapter Chair, national Vice President (East), and was first female and 11th President of the NOA, among other responsibilities.
The late Dr Uduak Udom who served as Pioneer President of the Women Optometrists in Nigeria (WON), was the first female President of the African Council of Optometry (AFCO), and the Immediate Past President of the World Council of Optometry (WCO). She was buried at her country home in Uyo and left behind her husband, Mr Ezekiel Udom, four children among them Dr Edidong Udom, current Chairman of the Akwa Ibom chapter of the NOA, and a host of other relations.