Many of us in the Vision Care Profession aware about the initiative taken by Vision 2020: 'The Right to Sight' India in forming an independent Council for Vision Care Professionals in the country through a Steering committee comprising members from different cadres. I think 2 or 3 times this committee was convened and discussed under the banner of Vision 2020 India.
A draft proposal of the council was prepared and discussed in these meetings as well as outside among our colleagues for strengthening the draft proposal. After repeated discussions and deliberations both Optometrist and Ophthalmic Assistants Association have accepted to form 'Vision Council of India' (VCI). Members of Optometrists and Ophthalmic Assistants can be incorporated in to this council in a separate classification (sub clause).
In our country there are independent councils for nurses, doctors, dentists and pharmacists and are very well organized. But for the Vision Care Professionals (who are responsible for the primary eye care and are considered as the back bone of the Blindness Control Program) we do not have such independent council to steer our fellow members at the moment.
I, wonder why so much of delay in establishing a council. Indeed it is a BIG question which does not have an answer. In the army a cadre without a commander is almost useless and we need a proper regulatory council which can act as a supreme body in order to bring all of us in to one fold. In the absence of such scenario the only sufferer is our rural poor people and they will suffer a lot by irreparable visual loss if we do not act now together.
Time is running out for all of us. Let’s take a pledge to resolve this issue in 2010.
Some of our colleagues also felt the need for merging these two cadres ie Optometrist and Ophthalmic Assistant into a single band. As elsewhere mentioned in this blog in Indian context there is a need for these two different categories is essential in the interest of our rural poor people. The Government of India is also very clear about this from the beginning. Hence there is no need for an amalgamation of these two cadres. Regarding the job description there need not be any significant change at the moment.
The Road ahead for us is to let everyone strive for the earliest formation of Vision Council of India in order to achieve the goals of Vision 2020: 'The Right to Sight' initiative.
Together we will achieve this mission very soon.