THE Zimbabwe Optometry Association (ZOA) has bemoaned the absence of a specialised eye-training school to enable opticians to undergo regular refresher courses to sharpen their skills.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
ZOA president Richard Mavheneka told NewsDay the association believed the school would help improve eye health service delivery in the country.
“Currently, all optometrists are trained outside Zimbabwe, mainly in South Africa, and when we go for refesher courses or advancement, we don’t have the capacity of doing it and, therefore, there is need to establish a local school which will meet these needs in terms of research and advancement,” he said.
The issue of establishing an eye school is set to dominate the International Annual Optometry Conference which will be held in Victoria Falls next month.
Mavheneka said the conference, which will be jointly hosted by the African Council of Optometry (ACO) and ZOA, will be held under the theme Harmonising Health Systems and Legislation in an Effort to Combat Preventable Blindness in Africa.
According to ZOA, there is need to lobby for legislative change which will allow citizens to access critical information about their eyes so that they can get medication before they turn blind.
“Some people who don’t have to go blind are blind today. We, therefore, need to discuss legislation which can become critical in the access of eye health,” he said.
He said ACO would also assist in the setting-up of the eye school, an issue which will be on the agenda for the conference where Health minister David Parirenyatwa will be guest of honour.
Delegates from the World Council of Optometry are also expected to attend the conference.
The University of Zimbabwe and Bindura University of Science Education have expressed interest in setting up eye schools.
Optometry is regulated by the Pharmacists Council of Zimbabwe.