Former Information Minister Dr. Laurence Bropleh has called on the government to commit to training health workers, including ophthalmic (eye) practitioners, to deliver the very best healthcare services that the country will boast of.
He said healthcare personnel who are not trained in ophthalmic or eye care services must not pretend in arrogance that they possess such expertise, “because the effects of such pretense can lead to irreversible mistakes that could lead to patients’ death.”
Dr. Bropleh made his remarks when he served as keynote speaker on Thursday, October 11, at a program in observance of the World Sight Day organized by authorities of the Ministry of Health (MoH). The global theme, “Eye Care Everywhere,” according to Bropleh, reminded him of the theme of the 2015 celebration of World Sight Day, which called for “Eye Care for All.”
“I am keen on this point, because I am a victim of such arrogant pretense as a result of unskilled health practitioners in the early 1970s in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, at the Liberian Government Hospital where I almost became paralyzed. Even though I have since refused to allow the after effect of this situation to define my destiny, I still live with the sad reality of losing sight in my left eye as a result of a lack of skilled and professional eye care nurses at the time,” Dr. Bropleh told the gathering.
“So, it is imperative at this time that we refrain from paying lip-service to the health and well being of our citizens, for there is a preponderance of empirical evidence that absolutely no country can thrive in prosperity and development in the absence of a healthy population, because a healthy nation ultimately transitions into a wealthy nation,” he said.
He said that the impact of blindness and poor vision on quality of life is particularly alarming for those living in poverty.
The economic consequences of blindness, according to Dr. Bropleh, are staggering as 90 percent of blind individuals cannot work to earn a decent standard of living for themselves and their family members.
He compared poverty to blindness which, intimately linked with poverty, predisposing to blindness, and blindness exacerbating poverty by limiting employment opportunities or by recurring the treatment cost.
According to Bropleh, impoverished people are more likely to become blind due to the lack of access to health services.
The early screening and detection of people with eye problems, including infants, he noted, must be prioritized by the government in order to establish the existence of any and all eye diseases.
This, Bropleh said, will enable an immediate intervention aimed at providing a possible cure at the initial stage (s) to avoid further complications in the future. Meanwhile, it has been observed that the program was poorly attended by health authorities.