About the Consortium
“We are very grateful to The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust for its support towards eye care and the elimination of avoidable blindness in the Commonwealth. The African saying is “How do you eat an elephant?” to which the answer is “one mouthful at a time, piece by piece, and with a lot of help from your friends.” This initiative is a wonderful illustration of this teamwork, and we are grateful for the opportunity to participate as members of that team.” Colin Cook, Head of the Division of Ophthalmology of the University of Cape Town, South Africa
Good quality eye care is a scarce resource for millions of people across the globe, including in many Commonwealth countries.
The Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium is a group of highly respected eye health organisations and academic institutions which brings together a range of complementary skills and capacity to deliver an integrated five-year programme of fellowships, research and technology which will help strengthen eye health systems across the Commonwealth and provide quality care to all.
The work of the Consortium will help Commonwealth countries implement the “Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Avoidable Blindness and Visual Impairment 2014-2019 – Towards Universal Eye Health” which was unanimously approved at the 66th World Health Assembly, May 2013.
Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai India, is the largest eye hospital organisation in the world, comprising five major eye hospitals and more than 40 vision centres providing primary eye care. It has a large fellowship training programme, and has trained numerous graduates from other Commonwealth countries. Aravind Eye Hospital also has a large research centre.
Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) is Australia’s leading eye research institute and ranked among the top five in the world in its field. It is based within the Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital, together with the University of Melbourne Department of Ophthalmology. Research at CERA covers a full spectrum from basic science seeking to understand disease processes at the molecular level through clinical research, including trials of new treatments, to population and health services research. CERA has been designated as a Collaborating Centre for the Prevention of Blindness by the World Health Organization (WHO), the only such centre in Australia.
College of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (COECSA) was established in 2012 from the merger of two existing training bodies (EACO and OSEA). It is the professional body with oversight for ophthalmology training in eight countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi – all Commonwealth countries apart from Ethiopia and Burundi). The college recently identified sub-specialty training as a particular need for the region.
Glasgow Centre for Ophthalmic Research, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (GG&C). The Glasgow Centre for Ophthalmic Research is a recently formed NHS-based clinical trials unit, dedicated to ophthalmic research. The Centre is affiliated with the NHS GG&C medical devices unit, and is well versed in the certification of medical technologies, and advancing new ophthalmic technologies.
The International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world-leading centre for research and postgraduate education in public and global health, with 3,900 students and more than 1,000 staff working in over 100 countries. The School is one of the highest-rated research institutions in the UK, and was recently cited as the world’s leading research-focused graduate school. Its mission is to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide; working in partnership to achieve excellence in public and global health research, education and translation of knowledge into policy and practice.
ICEH’s mission is to improve eye health worldwide; working in partnership to achieve excellence in eye health research, education and translation of knowledge, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries. It aims to do this through the development of policy; providing evidence for programme planning and advocacy; sensitising key stake holders and professionals; developing and building capacity through our links programme; working with and supporting young researchers and developing partnerships for research and by training leaders in the prevention of blindness.
ICEH has trained clinicians and health care professionals from many of the Commonwealth countries, particularly in Asia and Africa. Through its Masters in Public Health for Eye Care and PhD programmes, ICEH has been instrumental in training many of the leaders in eye health in low- and middle-income countries across the world today. In 2006 ICEH / LSHTM was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for “Reducing blindness worldwide”.
Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute and Hospital is a leading ophthalmic organisation in Bangladesh, providing specialised ophthalmic services and training courses in Dhaka and at three branch hospitals in remote rural districts (Jamalpur, Barisal, and Naogaon). Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute and Hospital continues to expand and to modernise to provide the finest of services to all its patients.
L V Prasad Eye Institute is a comprehensive eye health facility with its main campus located in Hyderabad, India. A World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness, the institute offers comprehensive patient care, sight enhancement and rehabilitation services and high-impact rural eye health programmes. It also pursues cutting-edge research and offers training in human resources for all levels of ophthalmic personnel.
Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London, UK. Moorfields Eye Hospital is the largest eye hospital in Europe and together with its research partner the Institute of Ophthalmology has the highest research output (by publication) of any academic centre worldwide. The research focuses on the basic science of eye disease and the development of new treatments. Moorfields Eye Hospital has trained many ophthalmologists from Commonwealth countries. In 2012 the two institutions were jointly awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for “Internationally-distinguished research and pioneering clinical therapy in eye disease”.
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists aims to drive improvements in eye health care in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region through continuing exceptional training, education, research and advocacy. It has links through its membership, supporting eye care in the wider Asia Pacific Region. RANZCO is the organisation responsible for training, assessment and continuing professional development of ophthalmologists in Australia and New Zealand.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) is the professional body that oversees standards in eye care in the UK. It sets the examinations and the curriculum for medical graduates who wish to be eye surgeons and provides elements of surgical skills training. It also sets the standards for professional practice and runs a continuing professional development programme, designed to help ophthalmologists maintain and increase their knowledge and expertise. The RCOphth has a formal VISION 2020 Link with COECSA, through which the RCOphth is providing support on curriculum development and examinations, ‘training trainers’ and mentoring.
Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) is the designated national centre for specialised ophthalmological care, education and research in Singapore. In partnership with the affiliated Singapore Eye Research Institute, SNEC actively conducts clinical trials and research into the causes and treatments of major eye conditions. As a regional and international ophthalmic training hub, SNEC organises teaching courses, workshops and regional and international meetings annually for doctors, nurses and ophthalmic allied health professionals. Fellowships in the various subspecialties in SNEC are available for international participants.
University of Cape Town, South Africa, is a major ophthalmology training centre which has trained ophthalmologists from countries in the Southern Africa region for several years, particularly in paediatric ophthalmology. It is currently developing a Masters in Public Health with an eye health option.
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. The Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde is an internationally-recognised centre of excellence for postgraduate education and research at the interface between engineering and the life sciences, with particular emphasis on clinically-related research. The goal of the Department is to transform and improve future healthcare through innovations and advances in science in technology.
West African College of Surgeons (WACS) promotes, organises and conducts postgraduate education and training in surgery and related disciplines and specialities in seventeen countries – including four Commonwealth countries – across the West African region. The WACS Faculty of Ophthalmology promotes, organises and conducts postgraduate education, training and research in ophthalmic surgery and related disciplines. WACS works with national and international bodies, publishes journals, pamphlets and memoranda, and organises and participates in meetings, symposia, conferences and other bodies on medical and related disciplines in the pursuit of its objectives.
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Image credit: Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium