Some of the participants in the conference
Some of the participants in the conference

International optometry confab held in Ho

The annual General Meeting and Scientific Session 2023 of the Ghana Optometric Association and African Council of Optometry has been held in Ho.

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About 300 optometrists from Ghana, Botswana, Djibouti, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo and Zimbabwe attended the two-day event on the theme “Expanding Optometric Practice in Africa – Focus on Training, Scope and Legislation”.

Optometry is a specialised healthcare profession that involves examining the eyes and related structures for defects or abnormalities.

The Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, in a speech read on his behalf at the opening ceremony last week Thursday, said optometry as a health profession played a vital role in ensuring the well-being of communities.

“It is through the eyes that we perceive the world and it is the optometrist who safeguards and enhances vision,” he added.

Dr Letsa said as the demand for eye care services increased, it was imperative that practices were adapted and evolved to meet the growing needs of the people.

Shared responsibility

He stated that eye care was a shared responsibility and all stakeholders needed to demonstrate maturity and collaborate for the good of the country, with a specific focus on training, scope and legislation in the area of optometry in the interest of the nation.

The Regional Minister said training was the foundation on which any successful optometry practice was built, and that required huge investments in the education and training of optometrists to ensure they acquired the knowledge and skills for the highest quality of care.

“Continuing education programmes, workshops and conferences should, therefore, be encouraged to keep optometrists up-to-date with the latest advancement in the field,” he told the participants.

Diverse scope

The Head of Department of Optometry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science of Technology (KNUST), Dr Kwadwo Owusu Akuffo, in a keynote address, noted that the scope of optometry practice across Africa was diverse, reflecting variations in healthcare systems, regulations and educational resources.

He said in recent years, the world had increasingly recognised the crucial role of optometric care, and Ghana was no exception.

The expansion of optometry practice, he said, necessitated a holistic approach that addressed training, the scope of practice, and legislation, which was essential for ensuring high-quality eye care services reached all segments of the population.

The President of the African Council of Optometry (AFCO), Frank Magupa, commended Ghana for hosting this year’s meeting at rather short notice, saying that it demonstrated the solidarity among the member countries and their commitment to the progress of the organisation.

The two conference topics were: Grading of diabetic retinopathy and Contrast sensitivity and driving.

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