Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) on Wednesday in Abuja solicited the local production of ophthalmic drugs and equipment (eye medications) to make eye care services accessible to more people.
The president of the association, Dr Ozy Okonokhua, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) ahead of the of the observance of World Sight Day on every October 11.
Okonokhua further explained that local production of drugs and preparations would further reduce the current rate of blindness and vision impairment in the country.
“Reduction in tariff on importation of ophthalmic equipment and engagement of local players in the producing ophthalmic drugs and preparations are also part of remedies in ensuring availability, accessibility to quality, affordable eye care by majority of the populace,’’ he said.
Okonokhua attributed the present burden of blindness in the country to high cost of ophthalmic equipment and drugs, high cost of living and lack of access to eye-care in the rural areas, among others.
He observed that if the government reduced the tariff on imported ophthalmic equipment and drugs, eye care services would be more affordable to large number of Nigerians.
“Eye-care is not isolated from the general issues affecting healthcare in the country and on the global scene.
“Most of the people who should access healthcare are not able to do so because of location and finance,’’ he said.
He said that the observance of World Sight Day “is an avenue for eye-care providers to enlighten the public on measures to adopt in order to reduce the prevalence of blindness’’.
Okonokhua, therefore, urged governments to collaborate with non-governmental organisations in preventing blindness.
The theme of the 2018 World Sight Day is “Universal Eye-care’’ and the Day’s call for action is “Eye-care Everywhere’’.