Leverage technology to grow sector, Adeniyi advises optometrists

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Mr Olusegun Adeniyi, a former presidential spokesman and member of the Advisory Board of Africa Initiative for Governance, has advised the Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) to embrace technology to provide better services to Nigerians and grow the sector.

Adeniyi, a journalist, gave the advice at the 4th National Conference and Vision Expo of NOA in Lagos.

The theme of the conference was: “Quality Eyecare: Economic and Security Impact of Covid-19.”

According to Adeniyi, there is no better time for members of the association to key into technology and innovations than now.

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“This association should take the lead in the establishment of more innovative ways of providing care, including tele-optometry, as we have seen in several other countries.

“Telemedicine’s global market, which was valued at some 50 billion dollars as at 2019, was forecast to grow significantly with projection that by 2030, it would be valued at nearly 460 billion dollars.

“Many factors have contributed to the growth of this market, including increased traditional health care costs, funding for telemedicine and an increase in digital health users.

“The most recent driver is the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Dr John Samssedi, Chairman, Lagos Chapter, Nigerian Optometric Association, said 60-70 percent of NOA members had embraced telemedicine in its fulness.

“In the light of Covid, most of us, 60-70 percent have embraced telemedicine.

“However, there are certain tests that cannot be captured fully by telemedicine because there are certain times you have to come face to face with your eye care provider.

“There are certain surgeries, for instance, you cannot do via telemedicine for now, thank God for Artificial Intelligence being deployed in optometry and in the eye care industry,” he said.

Samssedi called on the government to provide funds for members to embrace artificial intelligence fully.

The chairman said getting loans at 20 percent or at two-digit figures was not reasonable, urging the government to bring it down to single-digit to make it more embracing for start-ups in the eye care industry to embrace artificial intelligence.

Prof. Ebele Uzodike, Registrar, Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Board of Nigeria, expressed the hope that the conference would brainstorm and come up with strategies to circumvent the economic and security impacts of COVID-19.

According to her, the plan of action should be designed to allow optometrists achieve and render quality eyecare to Nigerian citizens.

“The theme of this year’s conference- ‘Quality Eye care: Economic and Security Impact of COVID-19,’ is just appropriate.

“The delivery of quality eye care services is greatly hampered by economic as well as security challenges.

“The COVID-19 restrictions and its attendant security challenges have also hampered the inspection and monitoring activities of the optometrists and dispensing opticians registration board of Nigeria, thus, we are yet to fully resume our monitoring activities,” she said.

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, hoped the conference would address the challenges facing the healthcare industry in Lagos State.

“The theme of this program and sub-themes are quite important and key into the times that we are in.

“Without mincing words, we know that the pandemic has really affected the global economy.

“It has affected every facet – education, entertainment, travel, food, industry, and the national health sector; and if I’m not mistaken, it has a hard effect on the health of Lagosians.

“I know that this conference is going to help us to address this and improve eye care in the state,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu was represented by Dr Olufunmilola Shokunbi, Director, Medical Administration, Training, and Programmes.

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SOURCENAN
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