Dr Samuel Asiedu, President, GOA
Doctors belonging to the Ghana Optometrics Association (GOA) say they cannot fathom why the government has refused to place them better on the single spine salary (SSS) pay scale.
“Regarding our remuneration and conditions of service, the current placement of optometrists on the single spine salary structure is nothing to write home about,” the doctors lamented.
According to them, some health professionals who even trained for fewer years and have little operational risks are better placed and enjoy better premium than optometrists who provide eye care services.
The doctors explained that optometry is run as a six-year programme at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
“After that, the graduates would do one year internship in an approved health facility, making the total training schedule seven years,” they added.
“It is, therefore, confounding that the entry scale for a pharmacist is higher than that of the optometrists,” they mentioned.
They have, therefore, appealed to the government and the authorities concerned to assist in resolving the issue of salary placement for optometrists in the public sector.
This came to light during the ‘2016 Annual General Meeting & Continuing Professional Development Conference’ of the association held in Takoradi.
It was on the theme: ‘Ghana Optometry In Retrospective, Stronger Together’.
President of GOA, Dr Samuel Asiedu, explained that the meeting was to afford members of the association the opportunity to reflect on the impact of the optometry on Ghanaians and look at the various factors that made them effective and relevant to the country.
He stated that since the running of optometry at some universities, access to primary eye care has improved dramatically throughout the country.
Dr Asiedu pointed out that it is the hope of members that more optometrists would be deployed to serve in areas yet to be covered.
Dr Jacob Vanderpuye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Van-J Eye Care, who was the guest speaker, mentioned that the Ghana Health Service and teaching hospitals have a number of optometrists who practise in the various regional and district hospitals.
“The majority of optometrists, however, are in private practice from individually-owned clinics to franchises in the various parts of the country,” Dr Vanderpuye stated.
He stressed that “the work of an optometrist ranges from primary eye care where optometrists become the first point of contact to the patient; to secondary eye care which involves specialist practices such as binocular vision, contact lenses and low vision.”
Dr Vanderpuye regretted that a number of optometrists who had successfully completed the programme were still waiting for postings into places where there are gaps and their services so much needed.
He pointed out that access to capital and credit facilities were hampering the expansion and modernisation of existing clinics as well as the opening of new ones in the private and public sectors.
FROM Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi