Isaac Job, Uyo
Eye patients in Akwa Ibom are apprehensive as nurses outsmart optometrists by selling medicated glasses without requisite prescription to patients in the state Eye Clinic center at Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat within Uyo metropolis.
Our correspondent gathered that lenses of various sizes and frames are sold to patients at costs ranging from N10,000 , N12,000 and N15,000 respectively unknown to the Othometrists Doctors in the Clinic located at Idongesit Nkanaga Secretariat Complex in Uyo .
One of the respondents, an Uyo based Optometrist who pleaded anonymity said such practice of selling lenses to patients without conducting test on them was dangerous and may increase the number of blind cases in the state if it is not checked.
He said, “Nurses have been involved in the racket in the last one year without being checked by relevant authorities while doctors are helpless as the nurses are protected in the acts by their superiors in the Ministry of Health.”
“Sales of lenses to eye patients without comprehensive test/ diagnosis back up with prescription by qualified Optometrist/ Opthalmologist at the state eye clinic is the height of quackery in medical practice,” he said
He further said, “This quackery and open merchandise of sensitive medical device like lenses for eye patients has been going on here in the last one year. This was not the case, but some nurses who had support of those in control of the Ministry of Health commercialize everything in the state owned Eye Clinic for their own good ”
In his reaction, Prof Umoh said government positioned some persons to check the racket with a view to deal with culprits,”We have set up machinery to investigate this and take all necessary steps as appropriate”
“Please avail us with the name of at least one of the persons you interacted with to aid our investigation. Please treat as urgent before they change the narratives, ” he said .
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Patrick Eshiet, who also spoke with Bayelsa Times, expressed helplessness in dealing with the situation, as he asked for names of nurses involved in the shoddy eye lenses racket within the clinic.
His words: “We are trying to investigate this racket and punish those Nurses in line with Civil Service Rules .But can you mention them to me”? he asked
“Even if patients with old jenses request for replacement, the optometrist supposed to conduct test/ eye examination before a new one is issued to them,” he said.
One of the patients simply identified as Edet accused the nurses of having a solid relationship with the permanent secretary as he does not respond appropriately to complaints against the racketeers.
When our Correspondent visited the State Eye Clinic at Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat , lenses were sold by freely by nurses at N10,000, N12,000 and N15,000 respectively depending on the frames and sizes without proper eye diagnosis and prescription by Optometrist/Opthalmologist, as demanded by their ethics in the clinic .
The racket is so coordinated that there is a standby Point -Of -Sales ( POS) machine for quick transfer money by patients to the sellers account without receipts from government .
Our Correspondent who posed as a patient at the Clinic was presented with 3 sets of lenses to choose and pay immediately without proper Eye Diagnosis/ examination except to read some text materials pasted on the wall of the clinic.
Meanwhile, Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Health Dr Augustine Umoh said the state government has set up machinery to investigate the Lens racket at the state Eye Clinic to bring pepetrators to book in line with civil service rules.