A Zambian Optometrist is restoring sight day by day in the Chinsali District.


Meet Chipo Mweemba, a qualified Optometrist who was born and raised in a small village called Mungu, in the Lusaka Province of Zambia. Chipo has been working as a qualified Optometrist for the Zambian Ministry of Health for a year and a half, completing his studies in 2015. 

Throughout his childhood, Chipo dreamed of having a career that would be challenging and embrace creativity.

 

After becoming the President of his Engineering and Technician Scientist Club in his 12th Grade, he decided to study Electronic and Electrical Engineering upon the completion of his High School studies. However, due to financial challenges, he had to begin working alongside his father as a mechanic. During this period, Chipo met a teacher and a psyco-social councilor who both worked at the Chainama College of Heath Sciences and encouraged him to apply for an Optometry Course at the College.

Chipo said;

I thought of so many blind people in the streets of Lusaka and suddenly felt an urge that I could help these people

This is how Chipo began his career in Optometry. During his course, Vision Aid Overseas organized weekly outreach assignments with both the lecturers and students, allowing them to practice their clinical skills under the guidance of UK Professional Volunteers.

Chipo states;

My optometry career was defined during this course. I became a complete Optometrist who could refract, diagnose and treat eye diseases and dispense spectacles

On completion of his Optometry course, Chipo began working for the Zambian Ministry of Health in one of the Vision Aid Overseas’ supported Vision Centres, providing affordable eye care services to his community. He is incredibly passionate about the difference that eye care can make, stating that;

In a second, a whole new and better world is possible with Optometry.

Every day, Chipo and his colleagues are working to restore sight across Zambia. He has treated thousands of patients during his working life, including a Deputy Headteacher of a local Primary School who was considering retiring due to her deteriorating eye health.

 

After a week of treatment, Chipo was able to tremendously improve her eye sight and she is able continue to work. Chipo states,

she told me these words ‘my son you have done what Napoleon failed to do.

He tells of another experience with a lady who had never received an eye test and had not been able to see clearly since childhood. Chipo prescribed her a pair of new, affordable glasses that restored her vision, and her life, almost instantly.

It is experiences like these that show just how much impact the training of one Optometrist can have on a whole community. Chipo wants to continue his studies to PHD level in the hope that he can help set up policies, teach Optometry and inspire the next generation to join his profession.

In the future, Chipo hopes that there will be a BSc in Optometry and for more policies to be included In the National Health Care System in Zambia.

Chipo states;

Together we can create a world where people have clear vision without mist or clouding”

If you would like to support Vision Aid Overseas in training more Optometry Students, you can make a donation here.