The year 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA). Honoured to be a foundation member of the African Council of Optometry (AFCO) and instrumental to the conversion of International Optometric and Optical League (IOOL0 to World Council of Optometry (WCO), the NOA, with five (5) affiliate organisations, collectively represents over the four thousand (4000, and counting) optometrists spread across the Thirty-Six (36) states of the Nigerian federation and the FCT.
In celebrating its’ golden jubilee, we look at the NOA’s vision which is to build a world in which no one is needlessly blind and where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential. Our mission of reducing avoidable blindness to its barest minimum by making quality and affordable eye care accessible to the public, utilizing reliable and efficient professional skills is being diligently pursued through education, policy development, advocacy and humanitarian outreach. In all this, we intend to facilitate the delivery of quality and accessible eye care, and the development of the optometry profession in Nigeria.
Recent and ongoing NOA activities include:
- Collaborating with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to develop vision standards for safe driving in Nigeria. In this collaboration, we were able to, for the first time, present a uniformed approach in creating awareness on vision standards nationwide, as all NOA state chapters participated fully, screened vision of over 3500 drivers and collected valuable data that facilitated the development of vision standard for safe driving in Nigeria.
- Collaborating with Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to support/encourage government in drawing up national guidelines for ophthalmic/optical product manufacturing and regulatory practices, to establish surveillance systems and other measures to enhance the quality, safety and efficacy of ophthalmic devices imported into the country, and where appropriate, ensure improved access and use of quality ophthalmic products and technologies.
- Collaborating with State governments, Ministries of Health and Women Affairs towards the development of comprehensive learning-related vision screenings, vision education, and vision hygiene programmes in schools and communities. Through this, we were able to develop a Hand Book for Teachers on Vision Screening for School Children, organise nationwide campaigns, particularly in rural areas to raise awareness on the need for regular, comprehensive eye checks, especially for women, children and the elderly. We were also able to generate valuable data on children’s vision across Nigeria which will be useful in developing policies on Child Eye Health.
- Collaborating with the Nigerian Union Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), Association of Optometrists in Public Health Care in Nigeria (AOPHCN) and the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians’ Registration Board of Nigeria (ODORBN) towards ensuring that the optometry profession is well positioned to contribute its quota towards the development and provision of eye care in Nigeria. Together, we have been championing the reduction of nefarious activities of quacks, working towards reviewing the scheme of service for optometrists and payment of promotion arrears, developing an optical revolving fund programme for the nation, central placement for optometry internship, creating employment for optometrists, developing an optometric practitioners mapping, to help determine manpower needs, etc.
- Making adequate preparations towards hosting the golden jubilee of the NOA (NOA@50), the 42nd NOA AGM, Conference and EXPO, the launching of a book: “Optometry in Nigeria: A History”, and Award Ceremony aimed at fostering wider engagement with the profession, all in Abuja, Nigeria in June 2018.
As our NOA clocks 50, we invite you to join us and celebrate 50 years of optometric excellence in Nigeria, even as we continue to contribute assiduously in positively shaping the future of optometry in Nigeria and the world at large. Do join us.