The perceived role and relevance of South African optometric professional and regulatory bodies

African Vision and Eye Health

Field Value
Title The perceived role and relevance of South African optometric professional and regulatory bodies
Creator Maluleke, Simon A. Moodley, Vanessa R.
Subject Optometry; Vision science advocacy; regulatory bodies; professional associations; HPCSA; SAOA; optometrist; dispensing opticians
Description Background: Healthcare professions in South Africa are regulated through legislative bodies such as the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) towards the protection of the public. Professional associations, on the other hand, enhance professional practice aspirations and advocate for recognition of their profession and membership that is voluntary in nature. These specific mandates are sometimes confused or conflated by the profession.Aim: To assess practitioner perceptions on the role and relevance of optometric professional and regulatory bodies in South Africa.Setting: The study was conducted amongst practicing optometrists and dispensing opticians in South Africa.Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive study that used a quantitative approach involving 208 optometric professionals was conducted via an online survey.Results: Approximately two-thirds (65.5%) of the 208 respondents, 65.0% of whom were members of the South African Optometric Association (SAOA), believed that the SAOA is relevant. However, more respondents (72.9%) in the sample believed that the HPCSA was relevant, the majority (56.1%) of whom were also SAOA members. Most respondents did not believe that either the SAOA (68.0%) or the HPCSA (61.0%) protects the practice of optometry. A lack of action against perceived negative practices of optometry networks and violations by registered and unregistered individuals emerged as strong reasons for dissatisfaction amongst respondents. High membership fees were cited as a membership deterrent by 67.0% of non-SAOA members. Despite reporting adequate knowledge of the SAOA (84.7%) and HPCSA (94.6%), factual assessment revealed only 42.4% and 69.5% were accurate on the respective mandates of the two organisations.Conclusion: Although many practitioners were unclear of the actual mandates of both the SAOA and HPCSA, they believed that both bodies were relevant and should improve advocacy and sanctioning of errant practitioners within the optometric arena in South Africa. 
Publisher AOSIS
Date 2022-12-02
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Survey
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/aveh.v81i1.730
Source African Vision and Eye Health; Vol 81, No 1 (2022); 8 pages 2410-1516 2413-3183
Language eng
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Coverage South Africa 2019 Registered Optometric professionals
Rights Copyright (c) 2022 Simon A. Maluleke, Vanessa R. Moodley