Minister Sherlock opens Mozambique Eyecare Project celebration event

Posted: 26 September, 2014

Minister for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, yesterday visited DIT to open ‘A Celebration of Vision’, an event organized to mark the achievements of the Mozambique Eye-care Project since it was set up five years ago.   Broadcaster Mary Kennedy, who recently presented two ‘Nationwide’ programmes from Mozambique, was Master of Ceremonies for the event.  In addition to colleagues from DIT, guests included colleagues from Irish Aid, DIT, University of Ulster, University of Lurio, and Professor Kovin Naidoo of the Brien Holden Vision Institute.  Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT, welcomed guests to the event and presented Minister Sherlock with a copy of the Mozambique Eyecare Project Photobook.


Mary Kennedy with Optometrist Angela Joana Efécio from Mozambique

Established with €1.5 million in Irish Aid funding, the MEP project includes a training programme for optometrists and an eye-care service in Mozambique, both of which are designed to reduce preventable blindness and tackle poverty. It is run by colleagues in the National Optometry Centre in DIT and the University of Ulster, in close collaboration with universities in Mozambique and South Africa.  Students and graduates of Optometry in DIT have also volunteered on the programme.

Preventable blindness is a major contributor to poverty in the developing world and those affected are far less likely to access education or employment, said Minister Sherlock, who described the Mozambique Eye-care Project as a sustainable solution to avoidable blindness.


Minister Sean Sherlock TD with Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT, and Mozambique Eyecare Project co-leaders (left) Professor Kovin Naidoo of the Brien Holden Vision Institute and (right) Professor James Loughman, DIT

“In just over five years, 15 optometrists have graduated through the Mozambique Eye Care Project, doubling the number of eye care personnel serving the entire country. Between 20 and 30 new optometrists will graduate in Mozambique annually, making this programme both effective and truly sustainable.

“Their ambitious plan to have a university faculty team in Mozambique and 170 fully-qualified optometrists to deliver education, eye-care and glasses to millions of visually impaired people in Mozambique by 2020 is truly commendable. 

“Blindness, visual impairment, and the lack of eye-care services are too often the result of social, economic and developmental challenges. The Mozambique Eye-care Project stands out as an initiative which can break this chain. I congratulate DIT and all of the partners in Mozambique on the success of the project.”


Mary Kennedy with optometrist Joel de Melo Bambamba in the National Optometry Centre, DIT

The First Optometrists from Benjamin Drummond / Sara Steele on Vimeo.

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