Abia State, American varsities seal pact on optometry training, practice
The Abia State University Uturu (ABSU) and State University of New York College of Optometry (SUNY) of the United States of America (USA) have sealed a pact on training and practice of the profession in Nigeria.
The institutional collaboration was signed by the Vice Chancellor of ABSU, Prof. Uche Ikonne and the President of SUNY College of Optometry, Prof. David Heath.
ABSU, a foremost Optometry training institution in the country runs a combined four-year Residency programme in seven sub-specialties of Optometry leading to awards of fellowship (FNCO), Masters of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D). This offers Optometry practitioners the opportunity to qualify both as consultants and as academic faculty members.
Similarly, SUNY offers the combined Optometry Residency and Graduate programme, which is a unique slot and opportunity for Optometrists to develop advanced clinical competency through Residency training while working on graduate research degrees of M.Sc and Ph.D.
Commenting on the feat, Prof. Ikonne said: “While this MOU covers every Optometry training institution in Nigeria and the Post-graduate College of Optometrists and its seven specialties, the educational affiliation will expose faculties, staff, residents and students to current trends in Optometry, especially in the area of Vision Care and Research activities in Vision Sciences.”
Prof. Ikonne, who as a pioneer staff of the ABSU Optometry Department, had at different times served as head of the department, Dean, Academic Director, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) and Rector of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba before his appointment as the Vice-Chancellor, is also the Registrar of the Nigeria Post-graduate College of Optometrists (NPGCO).
While lauding the new national concept of professional training programme, he hinted that the National Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the request of the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Board of Nigeria (ODORBN) to partner with its Residency Training Programme.
Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, the SUNY Optometry College President, Dr. Heath said that eye and vision health remain notably absent as a population health priority in the overarching public health and healthcare systems, adding that it was also under-represented in strategic plans that address the impact of chronic diseases and conditions within the USA.