The attention of the Nigerian Optometric Association has been drawn to a State House Press Release of September 6th, 2021, on the Setting Up of Health Sector Reform Committee by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo has been mandated to review all healthcare reforms adopted in the past two decades, the lessons learnt and factor them into the development of the new Health Sector Reform Programme.
The reform will be done in collaboration with State Governments and the FCT administration; sequel to a Health Sector Diagnostic Review Report developed by Vesta Healthcare Partners and the Federal Ministry of Health.
Apart from World Health Organization, Nigeria and some eminent health personnel from the public and private sector; professional bodies such as the Nigerian Medical Association, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives and Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria were drafted into the committee.
However, our noble association, Nigerian Optometric Association did not receive a mention even though we had a representation at the meeting called by the Bureau of Public Enterprise(BPE), Vesta and FMOH in 2019. Efforts are being made to lay hold of that report.
One can rightly observe that the professional bodies mentioned, all have regulatory councils, namely;
Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Medical and Laboratory Council of Nigeria and the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.
As it stands now, ours, Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Board of Nigeria, still has the status of a Board.
Notwithstanding, NOA has swung into action and made several contacts with the necessary authorities and Optometrists that hold key positions to ensure that Optometry gets its rightful place and mention in the forthcoming health sector reform deliberations.
Efforts are already in place to ensure that the right steps are taken in the long term as regards upgrading the status of our regulatory body, ODORBN and our visibility in the Federal Ministry of Health.
We wish to appeal to all Optometrists to be optimistic as we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to surmount the challenges we face in the complex nature of our health sector, so as to position our profession in its rightful place.
Be rest assured that our collective interest is being fought for.
Dr. Okechukwu Egboluche,
Public Relations Officer,
Nigeria Optometric Association.