20 graduate at Regional Ophthalmic training
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
At least 20 ophthalmic nursing and eye care personnel from Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Zambia and The Gambia, were, on Monday, certified after successfully completing a regional ophthalmic training programme in The Gambia.
Organised by the Sight Savers International in collaboration with the Department of State for Health and Social Welfare, the ceremony was held at the Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Centre in Kanifing South.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Malick Njie, secretary of state for Health and Social Welfare said the government of The Gambia under President Yahya Jammeh is working extremely hard to meet the health needs of not just the Gambian population, but the sub-region as well.
According to him, the government has been working with sister countries within the Health for Peace Initiative Framework for a long time. “You will all confirm from the nationalities of our graduates that the regional ophthalmic training programme has now gone beyond the boundaries of West Africa. I therefore take this opportunity on behalf of the health fraternity in the sub-region and beyond to express our heartfelt gratitude to President Jammeh and his government for funding the operations of the Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Centre,” he said.
According to SoS Njie, the Health for Peace Initiative’s Prevention of Blindness component which The Gambia is coordinating, has human resource development as one of its major components.
Ansumana Sillah, manager, National Eye Care Programme and coordinator, Health for Peace Initiative Prevention of Blindness for West Africa, said that the success of the regional training programme is due to the team work of the staff of the National Eye Care Programme in collaboration with Sight Savers International and Health for Peace Initiative member states.
“The Gambia national eye care programme had made considerable strides in setting up a comprehensive service. At some of our eye care centres, at least 30% of cataract operations were for citizens of neighbouring countries and this is still the situation,” he noted.
He added that even though The Gambia reduced trachoma blindness from 17% to 5%, there was a constant risk at re-infection from people moving across the country’s porous border.
Author: by Assanatou Bojang