Dearth of Eye Care Specialists

Namibia’s ophthalmology services may not be adequately equipped to meet the growing demand for services says the national eye-care coordinator in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Flashman Anyolo.

Anyolo said this last week Friday during the start of the eye care campaign in Keetmanshoop in the Karas Region. “There is an urgent need to train ophthalmic specialists, it is important to understand that it takes a team with varying skills to have successful eye care campaigns,” he noted. “There are no local training programmes in Namibia and one would like to see such kind of programmes introduced at local institutions. The ministry has embarked on training skilled personnel in various areas, these people are trained inside and outside in private institutions, but there is really a need for Namibian youths to take on this field of study,” said Anyolo. A report commissioned by the Millibank Memorial Fund in October 2011, Health Worker Shortages and Global Justice, which has been compiled by Paula O’Brien and Lawrence O. Gostin highlighted the world is experiencing a serious human resource shortage in the health sector, which the World Health Assembly describes as a crisis. According to the report the WHO at the time estimated that 4.3 million more health workers are required to meet the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a global compact to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat AIDS, malaria, and other diseases by 2015. It further stated that 57 countries worldwide are reported to have a critical shortage of medical personnel, 36 of which are in Africa. “Africa has 25 percent of the world’s disease burden, but only 3 percent of the world’s health workers and one percent of the economic resources. In particular, there is an extreme imbalance in the distribution of the estimated 12 million working nurses worldwide,” stated the report. A study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2012 argued that governments could add thousands of millions of dollars to the global economy simply by investing in eye examinations and the provision of glasses for some 703 million people who need them. The study estimated that 65 000 more optometrists, ophthalmologists, optical dispensers and other eye-care professionals would be needed to provide these services and that it would cost between US$20 000 million and US$28 000 million to train them and set up and run the eye-care facilities needed.

Source : New Era