Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Greetings from Optometry Council of India!!!
As we all embark on a journey of 2018, I cannot but help, looking back at what we have achieved in the past. It seems like yesterday when OCI was registered as an organisation in 2012. Come 2014, OCI commenced the registration process. The online portal had a lot of glitches and the data we were capturing was not optimal. We had to continuously improvise and here we are in 2017 looking at first time renewals of memberships!! When OCI commenced CE credit points, we had a lot of comments saying “no one will fill up”, “we need to just renew without credits” etc. However, to our surprise we are still receiving calls from members who are eager to fill credits and renew. 2017 also saw OCI launch the “Best practise standard” document. This is a small step in the right direction, to inform fellow optometrists about practise guidelines and a good advocacy document which explains optometrists are health care professionals. OCI also commenced the google document to collect data of all optometrists around India……and the result: MOHFW just commenced the same this month and OCI is happy to inform that we will be sharing all our data with MOHFW. OCI would like to also add that a government body which audited a optometry college in Gujarat used the OCI school accreditation policy document to audit the college and sent us this comment:
"For Evaluation and assessment, I have downloaded the accreditation criteria from Optometry Council website. Assessment has been carried out using these criteria as guidelines for infrastructure facility, Manpower and equipment, library size/ dimensions, no. of books etc. This has helped me in doing objective assessment of the Institute without any bias and prejudice, so as to achieve better academic environment for the students & faculties. The standards developed by Council are very reliable, objective, specific and can be repeatedly used to have uniform pattern across all academic Institutes for optometry course throughout the country.”
If you as an optometrist look back to 2010 or earlier, you will observe that there were not many organisations, not many CE programs etc. Come 2017, we have state associations conducting eye screening camps, we have so many CE programs in each state and all optometrists are enthusiastic!!! Optometrist often ask “why so many organisations”…well lets look at the positive side: such organisations are leading to more awareness in optometry, more associations are doing a lot of good work in their states like OATN, WBOA, GOA, KOA etc to name a few. Slowly but steadily optometry as a profession is growing and optometrist are becoming aware of their duty as health care professional and also are more receptive to attending regular CE programs so much so that we are having a handful of CE programs within 3 months of 2018!!!! All this is a positive sign for the profession.
I think "optometry" as a profession have peaked at the right time and with all the advocacy that IOF, ASCO and OCI is doing we will achieve our goals soon in the near future. Of course, the road is not a pleasant one and there are hurdles, but what fun is it to achieve anything without crossing hurdles!!! OCI with just two paid staff and a whole lot of volunteers has been able to accomplish what it has today. I take this opportunity to thank one and all for their overwhelming support, without which OCI would not be where it is today, an internationaly known organisation, a member of WCO, an organisation that does advocacy with government, an organisation that raises public awareness, an organisation that serves the eye care needs of the country in its own small way and finally an organisation known for its ethics. OCI welcomes any criticism and short falls and I do request all of you to send us your feedback on our services and advocacy of the profession so that we can improve our work. I have a request to all members: please do spare sometime of yours to serve the underprivileged and if you are already doing so, please collect all data and do send it to us so that we compile it on an all India basis and present it to the stake holders for advocacy. The second request is with so many optometry schools and colleges that are commencing, as optometry educators please ensure you do not compromise on standards of education and teaching facility that you provide to your students.
Happy and a very very health 2018 to all optometrists in India and all around the world. Indian optometry is definitely shinning and will continue to shine better!!