Optometry, KNUST, Ghana

Optometry, KNUST, Ghana

The Department of Optometry[1] at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, is based in Kumasi, Ghana. It is under the College of Science[2] of the university. Though being the smallest department of the college with 10 teaching staff and about 210 students, it contributes immensily to the college and the school.

Contents

Ghana and Optometry

Ghana got its independence from Britain on the 6th of March, 1957. After independence various governmental agencies where established to help the government serve the populace better. One of the agencies what the Ministry of Health. Being the government's agency in charge of the health of Ghanaians, it went on to departmentalise it activities so that various health needs of the people would be catered for by those departments. The Eye secretariate of Ghana was thus formed to see the eyecare needs of Ghanaians. In 1991, the idea to train Optometrists in Ghana was formed. Professionals for this field were to be trained to help in the eyecare needs of Ghanaians. KNUST was to assist in the training of Optometrist. Optometry in Ghana, though still young, continues to serve the nation greatly through its abled professions.[3]

The Early Days

After the idea to train Optometrist was conceived, necessary step where taken to ensure the idea saw the light of day. As such the first optometrist school in Ghana was started at the department of Physics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology[4] in 1992. The first class had just five students and were under the tutelage of Ghana's first Optometrist, Dr. Kofivi Monny. It was opened to only to those who had had their first degrees in either Biochemistry, Physics or Biology. Graduates from the school were awarde the Postgraduate Diploma in Optometry (Pg. Dip. Optometry).

Later On

In the year 2000 the department moved from the Physics block to the Biology block. This was necessary as the programme needed more space to house it students and labs. In the same year a four year Bachelor of Science Degree programme was started to phase out the Pg. Dip. Optometry programme and also accelerate the training of more eyecare professionals in Ghana. In 2004, just as the first batch of Optometrist with the BSc. Degree had graduated, they were enrolled for the two year Doctor of Optometry (O.D) programme. They passed out in 2007. Over eighty percent of Ghanaian Optometrist have had their training from the KNUST.

Currently

In August 2010, the Department finally got its own permanent address as it moved into the multi-million cedi Science Complex Block.[5] The department was alloted permanent classrooms and offices for students and staff members respectively. The 2011 batch who are yet to graduate have are fifty-three. Dr. Dr. Angela O. Amedo, a member of the first batch of Optometrist produced in Ghana, is the Head of Department for Optometry at KNUST. Today, there are about two hundred Optometrist in Ghana working hand-in-hand with other eyecare professionals to save sight. [4]

Staff of the Department

As of January 2011, the Department had twelve members of staff. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 8 Teaching Staff
  • 2 secretaries
  • 1 Cleaner
  • 1 Driver

All teaching staff, had the Doctor of Optometry degree. Currently four are pursuing other programmes at the Masters level and one a Doctor of Philosophy programme.

Students' Association

The Optometry Students' Association of Ghana

The Optometry Students' Association of Ghana (OSAG) is the only student group solely for Optometry students in Ghana. There are two chapters of the association, one at KNUST and the other at the University of Cape Coast.[6]

OSAG-KNUST Chapter

The Association had exist since the year 2000. In the year 2007, the executives could not organize an election to elect new members because of an injunction placed on the electoral process. This had come about because there was no constitution that regulated the activities of members and executives. As such after a year on the drawing board and a referendum, the Constitution of OSAG was made law, subject to the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. This led to the organization of new election which Mr. Anthony Afriyie won to become the first OSAG president - post constitution era.

The motto of OSAG is: Visual health our concern. This has been exemplied over the years through the associations:

  • outreaches to deprived communities across Ghana
  • advocacy for improved departmental programmes
  • general eye education amongs student of the university

Optometry Christian Fellowship (OCF)

Like OSAG, OCF is another student association of the department. It was formed by Christians at the Department of Optometry and Visual Science in 2003. It was to serve as a meeting time for the Christians so they could build each other up in the things of God as well as seek God's intervention in the affairs of the Department.

Executives

The executive body of the Fellowship oversees its day-to-day activities. There are five executive position in the fellowship. To be an executive, different members are nominated by all regular members of the fellowship. Those nominated go through a prayer and vetting session after which the executives for that batch are selected.

Members

Any student in the department, who believes in Jesus Christ or who wants to commit his or her life to Christ can be a member of OCF.

Meetings

OCF meets once a week. Various programmes are scheduled at the beginning of the semester and this is followed to help achieve the purpose of the theme for the semester. The programmes include:

  • Prayer meetings
  • Bible Studies
  • Time with the Patron
  • Evangelism
  • Breaking of bread
  • Sermons
  • Social Talks
  • Optometric Talks

Challenges

The main challenge of the fellowship is inability of students in the department to attend meetings. The main reason attributed to this is the fact that timetables for the various classes makes it difficult for members to attend. The breaktime which used to be used for meetings was reduced from one and a half hours to just thirty minutes thereby making some clasess miss meetings.

Social Responsibilities

The Department in collaboration with the Internation Centre for Eyecare Education in May, 2010 established an eyeclinic at Ayeduase as suburb of Kumasi.[7] The centre - Ashanti Vision Centre is to serve the community as well as the satellite towns that surround the university. Students go there regularly to build up on their skills as well as offer their services to the numerous people who come the for eyecare services. In November, 2010 the whole sixth year class of the Department undertook a two-day intensive vision outreach programme in the Atebubu district of the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana.

In March 2011, volunteers from Vision Aid Overseas visited the Department to teach its students as well as embark on Outreaches to cocoa growing areas of the Ashanti Region.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.knust.edu.gh/pages/index.php?siteid=optometry
  2. ^ http://www.knust.edu.gh/pages/index.php?siteid=cos
  3. ^ "Optometry in Ghana - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. 2009-10-30. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Optometry_in_Ghana. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  4. ^ a b "Department of Optometry and Visual Science, College of Science, KNUST". Knust.edu.gh. http://www.knust.edu.gh/pages/index.php?siteid=optometry. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  5. ^ "College Of Science Complex To Be Commissioned Next Week - Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science and Technology". Knust.edu.gh. http://www.knust.edu.gh/pages/news.php?siteid=knust&id=261. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  6. ^ "University of Cape Coast". Ucc.edu.gh. http://ucc.edu.gh. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  7. ^ "Ashanti Vision Care Centre commissioned at Ayeduase - Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science and Technology". Knust.edu.gh. http://www.knust.edu.gh/pages/news.php?siteid=knust&id=245. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 


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