Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Zanzibar Trip

Having gained a lot of experience working as an Eye doctor and eye care manager I did not think there would be major challenges in undertaking eye related assignments anywhere. So when I visited the Zanzibar primary Eye care programme I was expecting it be like any other programme I have visited before. Reading the terms of reference for my intended one week visit, I noted that I was the only one undertaking the assignment. So in order to prepare myself I decided to find out a bit more information about the health system in Zanzibar. What shocked me was that Zanzibar was not a single island I was taught to believe a few years ago; but its composed of many small islands which collectively are called Zanzibar. The two big islands are Pemba with a population of 400,000 and Unguja with a population of around 600,000.The islands are accessible by boat and also by air .But I had only arranged one trip to Zanzibar, so where was I going to go? Anyway I ended up only in Unguja basically because there was a clinical officer there who had trained in Malawi a few years ago.
The people of Zanzibar are predominantly Moslems.
During that week we ended up visiting many health centres to see how their eye care programme was. I was very impressed with the organisation systems that are in place and the dedication of the staff.
Most health centres are situated along the coast, so I had plenty of time visiting the sea.
There were things that I did suggest in my report that could be improved for their programme; but most importantly there were also many things that I learnt that are being used for our Eye care programme in Malawi.
Overall I had a wonderful week in Zanzibar.

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