OPTOMETRY IN TANZANIA: A 10 YEAR PLAN

Brien Holden

Abstract

PURPOSE. To improve optometric services in Tanzania and to establish a model for eyecare service and training delivery in Africa.

METHOD. The Kilimanjara Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania is the only optometry training school in Eastern and Central Africa. In Tanzania, as in many parts of Africa, there are not enough trained eyecare practitioners to provide the services needed. A 10 year strategic plan has been developed which will improves optometric services by enhancing eyecare education. The plan aims to: upgrade education at KCMC by evaluating and expanding the curriculum, expanding the skills and qualifications of the educators, and developing the program to degree status; integrate optometry into the eyecare team; and make the KCMC sustainable by developing appropriate infrastructure and mobilising resources.

RESULTS. The plan will ensure that optometrists in Tanzania have the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to meet their public health and community service roles. It will implement quality control systems to help optometry students and practitioners maintain their competencies, and will integrate optometry into Tanzania’s eyecare system. The plan will also serve as a model for the improvement of optometric education and services in other regions of need.

CONCLUSIONS. The Tanzanian 10 year plan will be invaluable in improvement of eyecare in Africa, and in the development of transferrable models and resources for the development of sustainable eyecare in Africa and other developing countries.

Details

Year: 2001

Program Number: 2:20 pm

Author Affiliation: CRC for Eye Research & Technology, Uni of NSW

Co-Authors: Kovin Naidoo, Julius Kamugisha, Sonja Cronje, Yvette Waddell

Co-Author Affiliation: ICEE - International Centre for Eyecare Education, Kilimanjaro Medical Research Centre, ICEE - International Centre for Eyecare Education, ICEE - International Centre for Eyecare Education

Room: Room 108