Eight more PgDCEH graduates!
Four of the graduates who attended the graduation ceremony, from left to right: Ester van Ster (South Africa), Fatma Omar (Tanzania), Susan Shonhiwa (Zimbabwe) and Paulo Hansine (Mozambique).
Eight more students obtained their Postgraduate Diploma in Community Eye Health (PgDCEH) in 2010. The PgDCEH is a unique programme that trains participants in Vision 2020 programme management. Vision 2020 is an initiative which aims to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), in collaboration with the World Health Organisation launched this initiative in 1999. The Community Eye Health Institute actively promotes Vision 2020 through education, advocacy and programme development support.
The programme is aimed at health professionals who are interested in or aspiring to manage Vision 2020 programmes at facility, district, provincial or country level. The candidates usually come from a variety of professional backgrounds including ophthalmologists, optometrist, ophthalmic nurses and general managers.
The PgDCEH is an intense programme which combines direct teaching with remote studies employing a blend of adult-oriented teaching and learning approaches. The course runs between January and November every year. A total of twelve weeks (split into two blocks of 10 and 2 weeks each) are spent on-campus and the rest of the course is covered through distance learning, making use of tele-communications.
The class of 2010 hails from all over sub-Saharan Africa. This year we had our first South African graduate. Excited about her achievements, Fatma Omar, a Zanzibar (Republic of Tanzania) national, says "It has been a pleasure to get the opportunity of studying the postgraduate Diploma at the University of Cape Town. This course has opened the new vision and has really empowered me with skills and knowledge. I'm so proud to graduate and I can really continue to manage the Comprehensive Eye care Programme in Zanzibar Islands effectively and with more confidence."
The PgDCEH was introduced in 2009 with 3 students graduating, and interest in it is now steadily growing. Approximately 12 students are expected to enrol in 2011.