Corporate support enhances training
Mukinge Mission Hospital and Northwestern Province
Local eye care worker examining a patient
Lack of primary eye care workers and professionals is the main impediment to eye health in Zambia's northwestern province. It's the country's least developed area with poor roads often rendered impassible in the rainy season.
Approximately 600,000 people are scattered throughout this large region, making accessibility to health care a challenge and straining the resources of Mukinge Hospital and the rural district hospitals. Compounding the access problem is the lack of trained health care workers. The province's remoteness and isolation make it difficult to attract and keep qualified health care workers.
Operation Eyesight recently employed ophthalmologist Dr. Edith Pola to help train primary eye care workers and provide services at the district hospitals. Along with the hospital's mobile services to two of the province's districts, Dr. Pola regularly travels province-wide, working with district hospitals to support their services and help with refresher training and supervision of up to 80 primary eye care workers. Operation Eyesight is providing additional basic equipment to the district hospitals. Demands on Dr. Pola and Mukinge Hospital staff are increasing this year as the remaining two of the seven districts in the province have been added to their area of coverage.
With donor support in the way of surgical consumables, outreach expenses, facility maintenance and salaries, the Mukinge Hospital's surgery team is clearing the cataract surgery backlog and Dr. Pola continues her training and support of local hospitals.
To help increase services and increase the number of eye care workers Operation Eyesight is funding a training plan for the districts' inhabitants. Training in primary eye care is being given to local villagers who in turn can offer basic screening and referrals to neighbours and peers within their own communities.