A newly qualified ophthalmic clinical officer in Kalomo in southern Zambia is now treating more than 30 patients a month, after completing his studies with the help of a Sightsavers scholarship.
Felix Kabongwe started his career in general medicine and always had an interest in eye care, but he couldn’t afford to pay for training. In 2015 he accepted a scholarship from Sightsavers, and in 2017 he completed his two-year diploma.
The scholarship covered his tuition fees, accommodation and other costs, and enabled him to learn essential skills to treat blinding conditions.
He now works at the newly built Kalomo district hospital, and aims to take on more patients as word spreads about the eye clinic. He says in the future he hopes to train to become a cataract surgeon. His training was part of Sightsavers’ CATCH project, funded by UK aid. More from Zambia
The two-day training course took place at N’zérékoré regional library in south-east Guinea, and included an overview of the diseases, how to fill in questionnaires to gather data, and best practice when out in the field. Following the training, the health workers visited surrounding villages and examined 3,300 children in more than 1,450 homes. More from Guinea
Two volunteers are helping to distribute medication to protect people against river blindness in their village, which has an unusually high level of the disease.
The village of Kpodji Cope, about 155km from the capital, Lome, is the only one in the district to have a prevalence of river blindness of more than 5 per cent. An eye health team asked the chief of the village to choose two volunteers to give out medication in an attempt to control the disease.
Komlanvi Afangnibo, aged 31, and Daniel Meou, 42, were chosen and given training to enable them to go door to door throughout the village, distributing the antibiotics and educating people about the disease.
“We promise you that the next assessment will find a low prevalence rate in our village,” said Komlanvi. “Many thanks to Sightsavers and other partners who support us to protect our people from avoidable blindness.” More from Togo
Two students are taking part in vocational training at local hospitals as part of their advanced eye health qualifications, supported by Sightsavers.
Alex Sowuani Lolmodooni, from central Samburu country, is on his final month of attachment at Sabatia Eye Hospital. He has so far carried out 78 cataract operations with the help of surgeons, and has 22 more operations to complete before he returns to college at the end of the year to sit his final exams.
Elizabeth Akiru, from Turkana county in north-west Kenya, is studying at Kwale Eye Hospital for six months. She is working in the low vision section and outpatient department, where she is helping to screen patients in the eye clinic, and will return to college in March 2019.
Three more students have already qualified and have returned to their home counties to practise eye health. The initiative, part of Sightsavers’ CATCH project funded by UK aid, aims to improve health services and ensure they are sustainable in the long-term by training and supporting local workers. More from Kenya
A campaign to distribute medication to protect people against neglected tropical diseases took place in Mankono, in central Côte d’Ivoire.
The mass drug administration (MDA) campaign involved giving out medication for lymphatic filariasis, river blindness and soil-transmitted helminths in 20 health districts. Local volunteers travelled from house to house, using a dose pole to check people’s height and determine the correct dose. Members of the community were overjoyed to receive the treatments, and showed their happiness by singing.
At Tiéningboué health centre, not far from Mankono town, the team met a 34-year-old woman suffering from lymphatic filariasis: she had sought advice from traditional healers but they had been unable to treat the disease, so she had come to hospital. The staff were able to give her medication and explain how to keep her body clean to calm the pain and swelling. More from Côte d’Ivoire