New Vision Centre in Zambia will provide access to eye care for thousands
Posted: 28 March 2012
International development charity, Vision Aid Overseas has just installed its fourth Vision Centre in Zambia at the Livingstone General Hospital, Livingstone in Southern Province.
The project (involving two overlapping volunteer teams) lasted for over three weeks, longer than the usual two weeks allocated for a Vision Aid Overseas volunteer programme to allow for additional operational management training of the technicians and dispenser.
Led by seasoned Vision Aid Overseas volunteer, Peter Howard who had previously assisted in the establishment of two other Vision Centres in Zambia, the project was seen as a great success by all who participated.
‘The staff at the hospital were a joy to work with,’ said Peter. ‘They were extremely enthusiastic and worked excellently with the volunteer teams. The volunteers themselves worked to their highest levels, with professional training in refraction, dispensing, and business and management as well as technician training.
‘The students were quick learners and so we were able to give them practical sessions sooner than we thought. We combined the Vision Centre installation with some outreach training and hospital clinic days which created prescriptions and orders for the workshop to manufacture personalised spectacles.’
The Vision Centre is one of the largest Vision Aid Overseas has,and is ideally situated within an eye ward housing an operating theatre, ophthalmology examination room, patient recovery wards and administration offices. The volunteer teams also installed a two station refraction room, a diagnostic screening room for visual field screening and auto-refraction, a frame dispensing room and a spectacle glazing workshop.
‘This Vision Centre now gives a huge platform to launch many outreach programmes to benefit a massive number of people in the immediate area, as well as the wider area of the Southern Province. Continued support by Vision Aid Overseas with further training will guarantee the outstanding success of this project,’ said Peter.
Specsavers generously funded the installation and over the last seven years, has raised more than £550,000 to fund eye care services in Zambia. Working in partnership with Specsavers, Vision Aid Overseas plans to install Vision Centres in each of Zambia’s nine provinces by 2015.
Karen Edwards, Vision Aid Overseas’ Programme Director for Zambia said, ‘Setting up a Vision Centre requires a lot of enthusiasm and effort from our volunteers, and it was fantastic to see how well the team worked together.
‘I am also extremely grateful to Specsavers for providing such generous support to us, and I look forward to working with them in the future. I have every confidence that the Vision Centre in Livingstone will be a true model of success.’