University of Cape Town 2015 Consortium Scholars
I am an Optometrist working in a private eye centre in Accra, Ghana. Until I recently moved to Accra, I had always worked in a rural setting in Ghana. My work in the city has made me more conscious of how deprived people are in the rural areas. This has influenced my decision to pursue further education to acquire more knowledge and skills to reach out to rural people through education and eye care outreach programs to work towards elimination of avoidable blindness.
On completion of my MSc studies, I plan to pursue a career in an agency or organisation involved in developing beneficial eye health services to reduce and prevent blindness and improve vision.
I am George Moyo, the last born of Mr John Moyo, Mzuzu, Malawi.
I graduated at the Malawi School of Optometry at Mzuzu University in 2012, and am an Awardee of the Brien Holden Vision Institute. In 2014 I trained in Low Vision at the Hong Kong Society for the Blind. I started working as an Optometrist at Mzuzu Central Hospital in 2012, and became Head of the Eye Department in the same year.
Having been offered an opportunity to mix with the great brains of the world at the University of Cape Town, I would like to share how eye care is affiliated with other fields, and to work towards Vision 2020’s Elimination of Blindness. This MPH CEH is a breakthrough in my career.
Many thanks to all who are working towards eliminating avoidable blindness, to Professor Colin Cook for his tireless efforts, and most of all, to The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust which has given me the opportunity to join this wonderful program.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine 2014-2015 Consortium Scholars
Dr Irfan Aslam Khattak, FCPS (Ophth)
I am an Ophthalmologist, and I received my fellowship training from one of the best ophthalmic training institutes of Pakistan. Areas of my clinical interest are blindness from cataract and diabetic retinopathy. Since August 2011 I have served as Medical Superintendent and Incharge Ophthalmologist at the Alshifa Trust Eye Hospital (ASTEH), Kohat. ASTEH is located in a relatively remote town of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province which borders the tribal areas of Pakistan. It receives a good number of patients from the bordering Afghanistan as well. It is a 100-bedded secondary care eye hospital with the potential of becoming a tertiary care institute in the future.
My motivation for studying at LSHTM stems from my interest in community eye health and my management experience. While staying connected to my patients individually, I wanted to look at the broader picture so that I could serve my community more efficiently. Coming from a humble background, it would not have been possible without the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium scholarship.
After completing my degree here, I want to take back the skills and knowledge gained to my country. I want to develop and strengthen the comprehensive eye care system in Pakistan and help integrate it with the general health care there. More specifically, I would like to see ASTEH Kohat as a centre of excellence of ophthalmology in the future. It will be only the second one in the KPK province. Besides, I have a strong inclination towards human resource development and community eye care.
Emmanuel is an Optometrist and a Lecturer at the Optometry and Visual Science department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana. He is currently an awardee of the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium Scholarship to study MSc Public Health for Eye Care at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Emmanuel is an alumnus of the LV Prasad Eye Institute in India where he obtained a fellowship in Clinical Optometry. He has worked with a number of non-governmental organisations such as Unite for Sight, and was recently appointed as a consultant by the Brien Holden Vision Institute to assist in the development of the Optometry Program at Mzuzu University in Malawi. He is Head of the Outreach Unit at the Optometry Department of KNUST, the aim of which is to decrease incidence of avoidable blindness in the northern parts of Ghana through the provision of community-based eye care programs. His career goal is to become a professor and also to contribute more fully towards the eye health needs of Ghana through the development of policy frameworks that seek to integrate eye health at the community, district, regional and national levels.
Dr Desirée Murray
Desirée is an Ophthalmologist and Lecturer in Ophthalmology at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. She was awarded a scholarship by the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium to study Masters in Public Health for Eye Care (MPHEC) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Desirée is the chairperson of The Volunteers for World Sight Day, a not-for-profit nongovernmental organization which was formed in Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 and which is dedicated to raising awareness about the causes of preventable blindness. She is also a past secretary/treasurer of the Ophthalmological Society of the West Indies (OSWI) and co-founder of the West Indian Society of Glaucoma Surgeons (WINGS). Her main goal is to continue working towards the elimination of avoidable visual impairment and blindness in adults and children, through development, implementation and promotion of National Eye Health programmes. Particular areas of concern include cataract blindness, blindness from diabetic retinopathy and blindness due to open angle glaucoma in adults and uncorrected refractive errors, retinopathy of prematurity and trauma in children. Universal and equitable access to eye care is the ultimate goal.