GOV OTTI WELCOMES SITING OF NATIONAL EYE CENTRE IN ABIA, PLEDGES GOVT SUPPORT
Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, has welcomed the decision of the Nigerian Optometric Association to set up three national eye centres in Abia, and pledged to give the association all the support it needs to actualise the project.
Governor Otti said that government would identify the areas where the centres would be located and provide the appropriate logistics support for its take off.
The Governor spoke Thursday when he received the executive members of the Nigerian Optometric Association, who came with the representatives of the global eyecare charity, One Sight Essilor Luxottica Foundation.
He thanked the association for its decision to consider Abia as one of the states in the federation to benefit in the first phase of the proposed eye vision centres to address the prevalent issue of visual impairment due to refractive errors.
“I want to thank you for the decision to consider Abia. Just like Oliver Twist, we will always ask for more. But I think what is important for now is to take advantage of the offer and work closely with you,” the Governor said.
Governor Otti told the visiting eye doctors that their offer came at the right time as his administration had just started the process of renovating the primary healthcare facilities in the state and would therefore factor the project into the design and implementation so that it would be realised promptly.
According to the Governor, government had embarked on the renovation and retrofitting of the 15 general hospitals in the state, starting with three initially and now moving on to the remaining 12. He said once those are completed, “we move over to the primary health centres”.
On the request for the upward review of salaries and allowances of optometry doctors in the Abia State civil service, Governor Otti disclosed that his Special Adviser on Labour Relations was working on dealing with salary review, holistically.
Earlier in an address, the National President of the association, Dr Chimeziri Anderson, who led the delegation, said the One Sight Essilor Luxottica Foundation had decided to set up Optical laboratories in select regions of Nigeria, of which Umuahia, Abia State, has been chosen for the Eastern Region.
Dr Anderson said the association had considered Abia as one of the states where the first phase of first level Vision Centres would be set up, adding that the facility must be located at the primary centres at no cost to the government.
He noted that the project which would cover the 36 states, and the FCT, has been Kick-started in Abia state in recognition of Governor Otti’s healthcare drive which is evident by his increased budgetary allocation to health care.
Dr. Anderson used the forum to request for the commencement of internship training for optometrists in the state Higher institutions, engagement of Optometrists per local government through the primary health development agency to extend eye care services to rural communities and the review of salaries and allowances of optometry doctors in the Abia State civil service, among others.
The Governor was joined in the meeting by his Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties, Dr Betty Emeka-Obasi, who is a member of the association and supervises the eye clinic at the Abia Specialist and Diagnostic Center, Umuahia.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
Government House, Umuahia
February 9, 2024