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The meeting discussed the competencies of optometrists and optometric technicians in both public and private practice, and emphasized the need for the scope of practice to be based around patient needs and the importance of continuing education. MOA President, Eric Ndaule spoke about the broad scope of practice and announced that MOA would develop an agreed scope of practice that would guide the review of the current degree and diploma courses to meet patient requirements.
The meeting is a significant milestone in the development of Optometry in Malawi which now boasts a School of Optometry with a 5-year Bachelor of Vision Science and a 3-year Diploma course at the Malawi College of Health Sciences. In the past 3 years, more than 32 eye care professionals have graduated from these institutions and many are now either working in the public sector, or training as local faculty.
“The establishment of a professional association for these new eye care professionals is the logical next step in their development, and that of Optometry as a profession in this country,” said Dr. Sara McGowan, Head of the School of Optometry, Mzuni University.
The inaugural meeting of the MOA was supported by Optometry Giving Sight.
Photo credit: Members of the Malawi Optometry Association Inaugural Meeting. Nov 2015.