University of Cape Town 2016 Consortium Scholars

Michael Owusu Kyei

Michael Owusu Kyei

Michael Kyei is an optometrist from Ghana. He graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 2008 and currently works at a District Government Hospital in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Michael has been involved in rural eye care programs since 2008. From 2010 -2013 he worked at the North Western Eye Centre (Now St. Thomas Eye Centre) in Accra in partnership with the NGO Unite for Sight USA. During this period he conducted daily outreaches to rural underserved communities in five regions in Ghana, which transformed his views on the nature of eye care services in these areas and the plight of visually impaired people both young and old. Many sight restoring surgeries were performed when the patients were transported to the base hospital in Accra.

Michael intends to return to his district after completing the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium MPH-CEH at UCT, where he will use the knowledge and skills acquired to plan his district eye care services, and to support his regional eye care team in its activities.

Eric Ndaule

Eric Ndaule

I am Eric Ndaule from Malawi. I grew up in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi. I obtained my BSc in Optometry at Mzuzu University in 2012. I am working with the Government of Malawi as an Optometrist at Kamuzu Central Hospital, the largest referral hospital in Malawi, where I work as Head of Optometry.

During the last four years of work experience, I have been involved in various training activities such paediatric ophthalmology and diabetic retinopathy. I am most interested in diabetic retinopathy management. In 2014, I attended the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium Diabetic Retinopathy workshop in London, UK. In 2015, I was trained in diabetic screening and management at Queen Margaret Hospital, Scotland. It was an honour to be invited to the annual Scottish Ophthalmology Club meeting on 18th September 2015, Glasgow.

Being an optometrist and an optometry team coordinator in diabetic retinopathy, I felt I should acquire more knowledge and skills on how I can contribute to my country in dealing with hospital/community-based diseases as well as non-communicable diseases.

I thank The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust for honouring me with this scholarship to fulfil my dream in pursuing MSc Public Health for Community Eye Care (MPH-CEH) at the University of Cape Town. Without this support, I could not have achieved my goal of reaching those people who have little or no access to eye care services.

Selassie Tagoe

Tagoh Selassie

I am an Optometrist from Ghana; I graduated from the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana, with a Bsc. Ophthalmic Science and a Doctor of Optometry degree in 2013. As one of the top graduates in that year, I was made a teaching assistant in the Department of Optometry where I assisted Lecturers in teaching clinical courses and supervision of students’ theses and dissertations. Until I was awarded the scholarship by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust to study for my MPH-CEH at the University of Cape Town, I worked as a clinical instructor at the Department of Optometry UCC. In that capacity, I had the opportunity to be part of and lead several community outreach programmes by the department and by several NGOs such as the Optical Foundation based in the Netherlands, to deprived communities in Cape Coast. This experience fuelled my passion to acquire further knowledge so that I can contribute  on a larger scale and make a bigger impact on the vision of the WHO and several other INGOs to eliminate avoidable causes of blindness. My aim is to contribute to the generation of academic evidence on the magnitude and causes of visual impairment and eye care services which can be used to identify priorities and advocate for greater commitment of stakeholders responsible for eye care in my country and elsewhere. This scholarship has therefore been a great stepping stone in my quest and I believe the knowledge I have acquired will be put to practical good use for the benefit of humanity. I sincerely thank the Trust for this opportunity.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine 2015-2016 Consortium Scholars

Nasiru Muhammad Abubakar

Nasiru Muhammad AbubakarI am a lecturer at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University (UDU) and an honorary consultant ophthalmologist at the UDU teaching hospital, Sokoto, in northwestern Nigeria. I trained as an ophthalmologist in Nigeria during which I received Awards for the Best Candidate in Primary Fellowship (FMCOph) examinations of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN) in 2002, Best Candidate in Part II FMCOph dissertation (2007) and Best Candidate in Part II FMCOph examinations (2007). I also received the ‘Council Lecture’ award by the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria in 2007.

In 2013 I trained as a paediatric ophthalmologist, and we are building up a paediatric ophthalmology service at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria.

I have been actively involved in Community Ophthalmology for over a decade in population-based surveys in several districts of northwestern Nigeria; training ophthalmic nurses as lid surgeons for trachoma control in three northwestern states in Nigeria; planning meetings for emergency trachoma control programme for Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states in 2003, Cross River state eye care programme, and Kebbi state eye care programmes. I planned and coordinated the key informant survey that identified blind children that were enrolled in a pilot inclusive education programme in Sokoto state in 2009. I am actively involved in cataract outreach and camps in several states including Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Jigawa, and Sokoto states.

I also participated in the review and planning meeting for Nigeria’s National Strategic Plan for Eye Health 2014-2019. I am currently a member of Global Trachoma Mapping Project training team in Nigeria where we have trained trachoma graders that have conducted baseline and impact assessment studies for trachoma in several districts across northern Nigeria. We also recently hosted and trained Pakistanis as trachoma graders for trachoma surveys in Pakistan.

I currently teach medical students, resident ophthalmologists, and I am a resource person at the annual Community Eye Health course at the National Eye Centre Kaduna.

My ambition is to continue to train workforce for eye care, conduct research in both clinical and public eye health, and mobilize support for the improvement of access and quality of eye care in Nigeria and especially in northwestern states. The award by the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium to study MSc (PHEC) at the International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is a dream come true and a new pair of spectacles to see eye care services from a different perspective. I intend to use the knowledge and skills I will learn to further my ambition of improving eye health to the benefit of the rural populace, who remain excluded in the current arrangements.

Leolyn Garcia

Leolyn GarciaI am from Dangriga, a beautiful, southern coastal town in Belize, Central America, known as the culture capital. I’ve dedicated over ten years working for The Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI), in the capacity as a Regional Field Officer, Senior Optometrist and program director. I am truly blessed to have experienced BCVI’s transformation of from providing rehabilitation services to the blind, to one that now offers a comprehensive blindness prevention program.

The lessons learnt throughout the years has taught me that blindness prevention can be complex but achievable through partnerships and networking which has motivated me to embrace the scholarship opportunity.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium for believing in me to fulfill another milestone in my life which will help to improve my knowledge and skills so that I can continue to support eye care health in Belize.

The MSc (PHEC) at the International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is a robust course program that is not limited to eye care but offers a wealth of information, skills and tools that will prepare one to diversify in all aspect of public health. I am confident that with the guidance of my supervisor, course director and my professors, I will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to help lead BCVI forward in implementing effective strategies to increase eye care access and coverage for a Belize where no one is needlessly blind.

Sucheta Kulkarni

Sucheta KulkarniDr Sucheta Kulkarni is an Ophthalmologist and specialises in Diabetic Retinpathy (DR) and Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). She has been working in H V Desai Eye Hospital, Pune, India, since 2000. H V Desai is a tertiary eye care centre and a postgraduate institute. Currently Sucheta holds the position of Associate Medical Director at the institute and shoulders many administrative responsibilities in addition to clinical care and teaching.

After having worked in the field of ROP for the last six years, Sucheta recognised the need to have a public health and multidisciplinary approach towards management of blindness. The desperate need for research in this field motivated her to apply for the MSc (PHEC) course at the International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She was subsequently awarded a scholarship from the Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium funded by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.

After completing the MSc (PHEC) course, she plans to serve the community back home, with a newly acquired open and critical outlook. She also wishes to improve the postgraduate teaching program in her institute with newly gained knowledge and skills.