Minister: Govt hospitals short of optometrists

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the shortage had led to an increase in the workload of optometrists and indirectly reduced the effectiveness of the health system in the country. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the shortage had led to an increase in the workload of optometrists and indirectly reduced the effectiveness of the health system in the country. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA SELANGOR, Nov 17 — The number of optometrists at government hospitals’ eye specialist clinics nationwide is 310 and is considered low.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the shortage had led to an increase in the workload of optometrists and indirectly reduced the effectiveness of the health system in the country.

“Due to this shortage, patients have to wait longer at government hospitals for treatment, as the number of patients referred to eye specialist clinics by health clinics increases every year,” he told a press conference after the closing ceremony of the National Eye Health Awareness Campaign (NEHA) 2019 at the Kampung Assam Jawa Community Hall here today.

Also present was the Malaysian Optometrist Association (AMO) president Woon Pak Seong.

Hence, Dr Dzulkefly said public and private cooperation should be utilised for eye health services to be carried out effectively.

“Nationwide there are about 2,000 optometrists working in private clinics and hospitals, and they can be used for routine eye examinations and screening such for red eyes, dry eyes, and cases of eye damage due to diabetes and hypertension complications,” he said. .

About 670 individuals from the B40 group received free spectacles at the programme.

Meanwhile, Woon in his speech said they pledged to build closer collaboration with the government to help address vision problems and eye diseases.

“The Health Ministry has approximately 310 optometrists who handle about 8 million patients a year and the AMO believes that with the combined efforts of private optometrists, the blindness statistics and vision problems can be controlled and minimised,” he said. — Bernama

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