1st May 2009 should have been a good day for me in Malawi and it was a sunny and quiet holiday , but when the Sight Savers International (SSI) Country Representative called to meet me at a short notice at the hotel he was staying ,I knew the day was not going to end up well. So I rushed there, ordered a mango juice and eager waited to hear what he would say. “Dr Kalua, I am sorry to inform you that MOOP is dead”. Decision was made to close the programme by 31st March as so as we are speaking there will be no more outreach surgical camps that we were supporting. This decision was made because our SSI UK office has been hit hard with the global financial crisis and were asked to cut some programmes to reduce our expenditure so we chose MOOP to go .”
You mean the prestigious Malawi Ophthalmic outreach programme that has enjoyed fame over a number of years has now been phased out?” I screened!!! Yes MOOP is gone, God save us, he replied. What happened to the donor from Ireland who said they would fund 20 eye camps in Malawi in 2009, I wondered. Why wasn’t I warned before about this doom?
Well ,in a nut shell ,some of you may not have been hit by this crisis yet ,but as for some of us we are finished –our jobs have been made redundant .We are planning to go back to the UK and start the cleaning and carer jobs once again ,assuming there are still there .
And you will not be reading those stories of old poor blind Malawians regaining their Sight through outreach programmes, as the outreach has been phased out .
As I try to get over this message, I will let you know what my next job will be.
I was proud to be associated with MOOP, and I hope my team and I will be. remembered for the efforts we made to prevention of blindness in Malawi
Has the financial crisis hit you in your sector? Would you like to share a story with me , or comment on anything?