ZIMBABWE’S first eye health care training unit received a shot in the arm last week following a donation of equipment worth $120 000 by Cimas Medical Aid Society (Cimas).
BY STAFF REPORTER
The eye health care (optometry) unit, which falls under the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, will train optometrists and provide optometry services to members of the public.
It becomes the first such training within Zimbabwe which previously was employing optometrists from outside the country.
“The unit fills a gap not only in optometric training, which was not available in Zimbabwe, but in the provision of optometry services at public health sector charges, which are cheaper than private sector charges,” Cimas chairman Mordecai Mahlangu said.
Mahlangu also said the funds for the equipment had been provided by the Cimas Health Education Fund which was established in 2007 to provide financial and material support for the training of medical specialists.
“When the department of ophthalmology approached us for assistance, we felt this was a worthwhile project, since it fulfills an unmet training need and will benefit those who come to the unit for optometry services,” he said.
Minister of Health and Child Care David Parirenyatwa said the donation had come in handy as the government did not have adequate funds.
“The government is cash strapped, in mild terms we have limited funds for such projects,” he said.
Parirenyatwa said the training would take four years, and so in the meantime, the government would continue to recruit from outside the country.
The optometrists’ training focuses primarily on the eyes, unlike that of ophthalmologists who qualify as doctors before specialising in eye and vision care.
An optometrist performs eye examinations and can determine the presence of vision-related problems. They can prescribe eye glasses and contact lenses.