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More eye care managers graduating...

23 Feb 2012 - 13:45

Seven of the eight students who attained the Postgraduate Diploma in Community Eye Health, with Ophthalmology Head Professor Cook and CEHI Director, Deon Minnies.

Another eight Community Eye Health managers obtained their Postgraduate Diploma in Community Eye Health (PgDCEH) in 2011. Although seemingly a small number, the PgDCEH helps to ensure that there is a steady increase in trained community eye health (CEH) managers in the sub-Saharan African region. The shortage of managers in CEH in the region is critical, resulting in poor service delivery, especially to the blind and poor.

Since the PgDCEH started in 2009, students from all over sub-Saharan Africa applied for positions on the course. However, the lack of funding has precluded many from this much needed training. In 2011, the Fred Hollows Foundation, an international non-governmental organisation (INGO) based in Australia, provided funding for 3 students, namely Ugwu Ikenna, Perpetua Nyakundi and Metela Lukavu to be trained. CBM International, another INGO, based in Germany, sponsored the studies of Munachonga Mutoloki. Aaron Segodi was supported by the Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Health. All the scholarship holders were successful as well as those who had to find other ways of funding their studies.

Several of the PgDCEH graduates of previous years have already shown outstanding achievements in their eye care programmes on facility, district and national levels. CEHI is working hard behind the scenes to help secure funding so that people can be trained in eye care programme management. We hope that there will be sufficient interest and commitment from stakeholders to provide funding for this important capacity building initiative, despite the current economic difficulties.

Here are some comments from some of the students:

"The knowledge I now have will go a long way in helping to eliminate avoidable blindness in our society and globally.I learnt so much from the programme." Dr Ugwu, Nigeria.

"I found the course very useful and relevant in my area of eye work. I hope to use the skills and information appropriately in our team to improve eye care work." Ms Nyakundi, Kenya.

"The course ...is by far much more than I expected. The modules placed a lot of emphasis on Management ...as well as Planning and Budgeting for a Vision 2020 programme. The knowledge I have acquired is invaluable and will definitely translate into a successful programme in my area. This course has “opened my eyes” and will help me be a better program manager." Dr Mutoloki, Zambia.

"(The course faculty) is kind, determined and (have) a true passion for developing not only our continent but the well being of humanity.I feel so encouraged to make my humble contribution to my community by what (I have been) taught." Mr Lukavu, Zambia.

"Most of all the knowledge that I (gained) will be very useful both at work and social activities. All the aspects of clinical work as well as the management tools such as job descriptions, problem analysis, the different forms of controls and the monitoring and evaluation of projects would be directly linked to my work and would be able to share it with others." Mr Mtuwa, Zimbabwe.