DIT led Mozambique Eyecare Project to Provide Eye Examinations and Spectacles to Over 2,000 People in Mozambique

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17 February 2014:  Twenty eye specialists, including seven from Ireland, will travel to Mozambique in March to provide eye screening and access to glasses to over 2,000 adults and children. They will travel as part of an Irish Aid funded Community Outreach initiative led by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), which comes as a result of an innovative and successful partnership between DIT and Mozambique dating from 2007.

Joe Costello TD, Minister for Trade and Development at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said: 

“Ireland is committed to helping build effective health systems in our key partner countries in Africa. This includes Mozambique, where we work to improve the health service through a number of innovative partnerships, including the Mozambique Eyecare Project. Tackling avoidable blindness can help reduce poverty throughout the developing world. The Mozambique Eyecare Project  is increasing public access to eye health services by training of the very first graduate Mozambican optometrists.  We are very proud to be involved in this project and wish all involved continued success with the Community Outreach Programme.”

“Research and learning from the Mozambique Eyecare Project has led to the development of an expanded eyecare programme in ten countries across Africa. This important initiative, led by a strong DIT team, is helping meet the need for expertise and delivery of eyecare in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Commenting on the Community Outreach Programme, Professor James Loughman, Director of the Mozambique Eyecare Project and Lecturer at the Department of Optometry, DIT, said: 

“Approximately 670 million people worldwide suffer visual impairment from debilitating eye conditions. Our research shows that four in five of these people’s impairments can be can be corrected with prescriptive spectacle lenses.  In many developing countries, such as Mozambique, very few people have access to trained eye specialists who can prescribe glasses. Our project aims to address this issue through sustainable education and screening. Our Community Outreach Programme will help to reduce incidences of visual impairment by offering screening and glasses to more than 2,000 people as well as training up 170 fully qualified Mozambican optometrists by 2020.”

The achievements of the Mozambique Eyecare Project dovetail with other Irish support for an improved public health care system in Mozambique.  This year, Ireland will chair the group of countries and NGOs supporting health care in Mozambique, and will be working closely with the Eyecare Project to ensure that the needs of the visually-impaired in Mozambique are articulated.  

A group of twenty people in total are expected to take part in the Community Outreach Programme in Mozambique in March, including seven optometrists and optometry students from DIT. Over the course of the Programme, the group will visit three areas in Mozambique including Nampula, Ilha de Moçambique and the capital city of Maputo. 

During their ten days in Mozambique, beginning 30 March, the group expects to screen over two thousand people and prescribe over 1,000 pairs of glasses. The glasses will be provided by the Brien Holden Vision Institute, a partner of the Mozambique Eyecare Project based in South Africa. While in Mozambique, the Group will also meet the healthcare team from the Irish Embassy in Maputo.

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