In conversation “The Masters programme at the International Centre for Eye Health”

In conversation “The Masters programme at the International Centre for Eye Health”


>>PATEL. Hi I’m Dr Daksha Patel from the International Centre for Eye Health. and I’m here with two of my ex-students who have been doing the Masters in Public Health for Eye Care. This is Dr Lutful Husain from Bangladesh who now works with ORBIS International and he was a graduate from 2005/6 year. This is Dr Grace Fobi from orginally from Cameroun but now working in Burkina Faso with the APOC WHO. So thank you both of you for coming for this
little session here and I’d like to ask you a few questions. Going back to the times when you joined
the course, if you remember that the Public Health for Eye Care course the main
focus was to transform clinicians to embracing not just that one individual
patient but to looking at what are the needs of their population. That was kind of the ethos of the course. So perhaps you could tell us and identify
what’s been the key impact that you feel the training in this MSc for Public Health has had firstly on you as an individual then perhaps on the work that you’ve done
at a national level and then your international role subsequently. Perhaps I’ll start with you Dr Lutful.>>HUSAIN. Thank-you Daksha. First of all I am grateful for our funding agencies who give me the opportunity to undertake this
course like ORBIS International, DfID, British Council, Task Force Sight and Life. One thing I must say before taking this course I was purely clinican and I would say I was 80% clinical ophthalmologist and 20% community ophthalmologist. But after taking this course I have become eighty percent community ophthalmologist and only 20% clinical ophthalmologist. And before the course I was involved in only 1 million people in a small district of Bangladesh. now I am enaged [with] over 1 billion people in South-East Asia region to fight against avoidable blindness. This is the change which the course has brought on me and I am greatly, uh It must appreciate our facilitators, our
course coordinators and our fomentors that this impact has been by discourses.>>PATEL. What would you say are the key skills that you picked up on the course?>>HUSAIN. A deeper understanding of the epidemiology of the eyes, common eye problems in the community, the change in the eye diseases, and what are the plans to be undertaken according to the change in disease pattern and so there are many changes which actually work on my skills and I found discourse is one of the basic foundations where I can offer my skills both clinical and public health skills.>>PATEL. Right. Grace, perhaps you could highlight what has been your experience having done the
course perhaps a little bit longer than Lutful Husain. You were a graduate from 2001/2. [>>FOBI. Yes.] >>PATEL. And maybe you could talk us through your experience again at your individual level and national and international.>>FOBI. Yeah. Thank you very much next time Daksha and also thank all those that have uh… who one way or another contributed to making me come to this change especially this Institute, for those who created it, who had the brilliant idea to put in place this Institute and to uh… Sightsavers and CBM who
gave me the opportunity to actually go to the Institute and have this mind changing experience. But let me just say that I graduated as an undergraduate from Cameroun, did post-graduate in Glasgow Western Infirmary, went back to Cameroun and worked as an ophthalmologist for quite a while. But I was, bit by bit I became very frustrated doing the clinical work because you would realise that although the need is there you know there are patients out there for cataract surgery for instance you hardly see them coming to the
hospital. We had a very hard time trying to get
patients to the hospital and increase our cataract surgical rate and I was really frustrated. But then when I came to the Institute and I understood a bit more about the important role the community has to play to determine the health outcomes, their own health outcomes. And sitting at the hospital level I was only seeing the tip of the iceberg. I think that was the fundamental change that I came out with from the then International Centre for Eye Health And then… when I went back I thought I should not sit in the hospital but go to the community, work with the community, ask their problems, diagnose their problems with them develop solutions and and plans with them to solve it. And that has brought me into working more specifically with river blindness control. Now I’m working with the WHO The African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control which is the organisation responsible for distributing ivermectin and the strategy we’re using is community directed strategy whereby the community themselves select who will distribute for them, how they are going to distribute, when they want the drug etc etc. So, fundamentally, … I am a programme manager today trying to determine policy, putting in place sustainable systems for drug distribution in twenty countries in Africa. And I do this thanks to what I learned from the community .. uh … the ICEH centre in London. I’m very grateful and to you Daksha particularly.>>PATEL. I think one of the strengths of the course is that suddenly it makes makes the ophthalmology enable to
understand the evidence that’s in front of them and then what to do with the evidence that’s being presented to them. [>>FOBI & HUSAIN. Yeah.] and you both certainly reflected a true career shift in this area. Would you recommend that public health training although never given in the clinical ophthalmolology training would you say that that is an essential part of every resident’s training in ophthalmology or would you make
that recommendation FOBI. Certainly.>>HUSAIN. Because this course has brought some changes in our mindset that as well as our skillset so if we want to fight against uh… huh avoidable blindness in [support of] the mandate of VISION 2020 we have to motivate our ophthalmologists There is no division has to come so This course changed my motivation and I have now come out of the room to the real world. So I have seen how the people suffering in the remote places and it gives me a real sense of happiness that I’m part of team that I’m fighting against that blindness. So clinical ophthalmologists certainly they have certain roles in getting these courses because the research agenda which is one of our pillars of ORBIS International, research and evidence they need to undertake researches which will help in taking decisions in planning. Many of the hospitals they do have databases but they do not know how to analyse the data for analysis and how to take the decisions. So this course definitely helps them to analyse their data, to monitor their performances and to take action accordingly. So not only from the public health perspective also from the clinical perspective This course has a great deal [to offer].>>FOBI. I totally agree because as I say you don’t want
to have graduated as some ophthalmologist, work learn the bad experience then realise
there was something you ought to have learned even before graduating so I really think
it should be made part of the residence uh… residence that
ophthalmology students take. And medical students will have matter to undertake this notion of public health which which it’s very essential to understanding disease control disease uh… policies about disease
control and and making a change bringing a
change so I think it’s very very important that we all work towards making this part of the training of every medical
student.>>PATEL. Thank you both, thank you for this, telling us about the work that you’ve done and we congratulate both of you on the work that you are still doing and with the enthusiasm and with the conviction that you have in making a difference to the blindness in the world>>PATEL. Thank you very much. HUSAIN & FOBI. Thank you.>>PATEL. We would like to thank everybody.

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