Zim to open first optometry school

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ZIMBABWE will soon open its first ever School of Optometry at Bindura University of Science Education in Mashonaland Central Province.

Optometry is a specialised health care profession centred on examination of eye defects, ocular diseases and problems related to general health. Pharmaceutical Council of Zimbabwe (PCZ) registrar Mr Alois Karonga confirmed this to Sunday News.

“We want to train optometrists in the country seeing that there is no institution that offers that. The School of Optometry at Bindura University is going to be the first of its kind in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mr Karonga said his organisation has started inspecting the facilities at the university.

“We have started inspections of the premises of the university so that we see if they meet the standards for the training. We have to ensure that all things are of good standard, that is when they will open to the prospective students,” he said.

Mr Karonga said it was necessary for the inspection to be done by a regulatory body like PCZ so that students learn in a place that has high standards that are acceptable internationally. He said as a council, they were impressed and optimistic about the coming on board of Bindura University of Science Education as the country has been relying on foreigners for optometry services. Zimbabwe relies on less than five optometrists that are from South Africa, Ghana and other counties.

According to the PCZ, all registered optometrists and practicing in Zimbabwe are in the private sector as there are no vacancies in the public sector.

The general standard for institutions that offer optometry is that prospective students undergo a three-to five-year programme leading to the award of a degree.