Fund-raiser for Mozambique Eyecare Project

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Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Emer Costello with Aoife Phelan,
DIT Mozambique Eyecare Project and Stephen Madden, Cycle Organiser

21st July 2010

A 300 k sponsored cycle in the West of Ireland took place last month to support a major DIT project which is developing eyecare in Mozambique.  The sponsored cycle was organised by DIT Optometry graduate, Stephen Madden FAOI.  Stephen, who now lives in Wales, is current President of the Bangor Rotary Club Gwynedd.   The idea for the fund-raising event arose when Stephen attended the launch of the Mozambique Eyecare Project in DIT in June 2009, and was inspired to offer support.   The result was the Cymru Co Clare Cycle which began at St John’s Castle in Limerick and ended in Galway city, with thirty cyclists taking part. 

A launch event took place in Dublin in advance of the cycle, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Emer Costello attended to offer her support and to raise awareness of the Project.   Aoife Phelan of the Mozambique Eyecare Project, DIT, met with the Lord Mayor and the cyclists to explain how the funds they would raise would be used to provide extra testing rooms for the training of optometrists and optometry technicians.   Funding for the Project has been provided  by  the Irish Aid/Higher Education Authority initiative, “Programme for Strategic Cooperation", and co-funded by Optometry Giving Sight and International Centre for Eyecare Education.  Ms Phelan said the aim of the Project is  to train the first professional optometrists and optometry technicians who will go on to provide a sustainable and comprehensive eye-care system as an integral part of the national health system in Mozambique.   “Currently, there are just 15 ophthalmologists for a population of 21 million, and very few optometrists and dispensing opticians.   This compares with a figure of 220 registered ophthalmologists in Ireland.  Over the five years of this project, the Mozambican People will benefit from comprehensive eye examinations and the provision of glasses which until now are simply not available to them.”

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Cyclists take a well-earned break on route to journey’s end

For more information on the Mozambique Eyecare Project, which is funded by Irish Aid, please visit the website: www.dit.ie/mozambique-eyecare.

Project details:

  • The Mozambique Eyecare Project involves partners from Lúrio University in Mozambique and the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE), in collaboration with Dublin Institute of Technology and University of Ulster.  It aims to address the problem of avoidable blindness in Mozambique, Lusophone Africa and across developing nations.
  • The Project will establish Mozambique’s first Optometry School in Lúrio University, Nampula, using a model developed by Professor Kovin Naidoo, Global Programmes Director of the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE), Co‐Chair of the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and CEO of AVRI.
  • Milestones Reached to Date:
    • 42 students are enrolled in the Optometry Programme in UniLúrio, Nampula, Mozambique
    • 2 Optometry Lecturers have been recruited for Spain and Colombia to teach in UniLurio
    • In 2009, approximately 2800 people had sight tests and were dispensed spectacles as part of a Campaign for Quality Vision in Nampula. More Campaigns are planned.
    • 4 Post Grad students have been recruited and a further post grad student is to be recruited.
    • Academic staff from DIT and University Ulster have contributed to the ICEE curriculum which will be taught in UniLurio, Malawi, Eritrea and in other developing countries where optometry professionals are nonexistent.

Important:

  • 670 million people in the world are blind or visually impaired simply because they do not have access to an eye exam and a pair of spectacles.
  • 90% of these people live in the developing world.

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