Some recent news from our partners at the eye clinic at Embangweni: a team of visiting clinicians organised screening and treatment for trachoma, an infection of the eye, with the staff at Embangweni eye clinic working alongside them. Screening identified 29 people who required surgery for trichiasis, a condition caused by trachoma. Surgery was was carried out the following day.
Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness of infectious origin, it spreads in areas where access to clean water is limited. If untreated it causes scarring to the eyelids, which is painful and causes permanent damage to the surface of the eye.
Our next Goggle Works party will be on Friday 14 June, at 19:30, in Colchester. Join us to sort, wash, measure and pack second-hand glasses, ready to send off to our partners in Malawi.
Once in the clinics, they’ll be stored ready to dispense to patients. Providing second-hand glasses is important as new prescription glasses would be beyond the means of 90% of the population. Improving sight helps to enable education, work — and of course helps with the practicalities of living.
Everyone’s welcome, no previous experience necessary! Call 01206 622712 for more details.
It is with sadness that we report the recent death of Mr Godfrey Mkandawire, ophthalmic clinical officer in charge of the eye clinic at the David Gordon Memorial Hospital, Livingstonia. Before his current work at this clinic, Mr Mkandawire was a lecturer in ophthalmology at the Malawi College of Health Sciences, Lilongwe. He had retired from this work to return to his home area of Livingstonia. However, he was not at all ready to retire entirely and in 2014 duly took over the recently-built and equipped eye clinic at the David Gordon Memorial Hospital. We celebrate and give thanks for Mr Mkandawire’s long career in the training of students and of treating patients; his wise professional counsel; and his kindly manner.
We have recently purchased some optometric gear to equip clinics that plan to develop their services soon.
We bought almost the complete inventory of equipment from an optometrist practice in Southend-on-Sea. This had closed down following the retirement of the owner. Then we travelled to Yorkshire to purchase a second-hand lens cutter and edger for preparing lenses for frames.
All this will be sent to Embangweni Mission and Mzimba government hospitals and it will complete the equipping of the new optometric departments. Mzimba is in the same region as Embangweni, and we expect that the two clinics will be able to provide complimentary services reaching needy communities.
Our thanks to Ashok Bhardwaja and David Tate who let us have the equipment at generous prices. We also thank the guys from Southend Vineyard who did some heavy lifting, and to Sue and John Challis who drove all the equipment to Scotland. And finally to our good friends Vicky and Nigel of Smileawi in Scotland, who are letting us occupy space in their next container (leaving Strachur for Malawi, on 7th May).
The Trust is currently sponsoring the training of three members of the medical staff, with a fourth to start soon. They are from Embangweni and Ekwendeni hospitals .
The first has recently completed successfully his general clinical officer training and waiting for final exam results. After a year’s internship, he will go on to a further 18 months of training, specialising in ophthalmology.
Two members of staff at Embangweni recently completed successfully their first year in optometric technician training. They are currently back working in their clinic until term starts. This coming year, another member of staff from Embangweni is set to commence a clinical-officer-in-ophthalmology course.
This training is being done at colleges in Malawi, and all students are local people who are committed to serving their local communities. Providing the funds for this training is a key part of this Focus on Malawi’s objective to help enable sustainable eye care services at the mission hospitals in northern Malawi.