Community eye health screening programme launched at Livingstonia

A new, comprehensive programme to promote eye health care in the community has been launched at The David Gordon Memorial Hospital (DGMH), Livingstonia. The programme involves re-opening the eye clinic at the hospital (closed in 2019 following the death of the clinician), and the provision of eye health screening in remote clinics and schools falling within the DGMH catchment area.

The first part of the plan included the appointment of an optometrist at the eye clinic at DGMH – who is Ms Tabu Chisi. And since June 2021, Ms Chisi has been delivering a comprehensive training programme for community screening, to include healthcare staff and patient attendants, as well as schoolteachers and local community leaders.

Training primary healthcare and patient assistant staff to screen for eye health at David Gordon Memorial Hospital, Livingstonia

The first batch of trainees – community healthcare workers and patient attendants – hard at work at DGMH.

Training for healthcare and patient attendant staff to screen for eye health at David Gordon Memorial Hospital, Livingstonia

Now they’re ready to serve the people in their catchment area!

Entrance to eye clinic at David Gordon Memorial Hospital, Livingstonia, Malawi

Banners at the entrance to the eye clinic at Livingstonia announce to local people that help with their sight problems is available within.

The Raven Trust was approached early in 2021 by DGMH’s hospital management with an outline plan for this programme, with a request to fund its early stages. Following evaluation and discussion, we were very happy to play a part in this well-considered project. The request also happened to coincide with an unexpected and very generous donation to the Trust. This enabled things to move ahead while being able to maintain our commitment to funding staff training at the other mission hospitals. We thank God for his perfect timing!

The programme at Livingstonia is the kind of development in community eye healthcare that The Raven Trust has been working ultimately to see established at the mission hospitals, and we feel very excited now to witness this happening – especially as it has been initiated, devised and implemented by local management and staff.

Shipping news

We report the successful arrival in Ekwendeni in May (2021) of a 40ft container which departed The Bananabox Trust’s depot at Dundee back in March this year. Focus on Malawi items in this delivery included measured glasses and optical equipment destined for Ekwendeni and Embangweni mission hospitals, as well as for Mzimba and Rumphi government hospitals.

The latest container from UK arrives in Ekwendeni, May 2021

The latest container arrival at Ekwendeni Mission Hospital contains essential equipment for hospitals, schools and churches in the region.

We’re also very pleased to report another full container departure from Dundee last month (June 2021), with 27 of our boxes. We sent, in addition to the usual glasses supplies, batches of vision testing materials for the newly-reopened clinic at Livingstonia mission hospital, and its new community eye-health screening programme (see separate post). Grateful thanks again to The Bananabox Trust in Dundee and all our good friends in the UK and Malawi who make these shipments, over many thousands of miles, secure and successful.

Hard-working volunteers of The Bananbox Trust packing a 40ft container at the Trust’s depot in Dundee during June 2021.