Saturday, 18 December 2010

Happy snowy Christmas 2010 from London Heathrow.

Yes it’s 18th December 2010 and I am not in the Himalayas or Russia. This is right here in London where it has snowed cats and dogs such that flights including mine to Dubai have been cancelled. Was supposed to meet my family tomorrow, but it’s all history now. You see London Heathrow Airport is closed due to the heavy snow that has fallen.

I took it as fun at first, only to reliase all the flights have been canceled.
Well today no issues of Malawi and blind children (tired coz this is all what I have been writing up during the last few weeks).

Have you experience snow?
Denis has taken a few god photos, and being a permanent UK resident he seems to know how to dress for the snow.
For the time being I wait for the flights to resume.

Have a snowy Christmas if you are in Europe.

Can’t wait to get to Malawi where its very warm!

Any comment?
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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snow Snow Snow in London

The weather in UK and the feelings I am experiencing while here reminds me of the president of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe the life president of Zimbabwe at one point when he was being banned from passing through UK (as part of the sanctions) by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair said this to counteract the ban: Well which African would want to stay in the UK as cold as it is. For once I agree with him .I have been asking myself what I am doing in London being subjected to a whole week of snow? Is this what global warming is all about?

Wish I was in Malawi, where its currently the rainy warm season.

But I have to finish the write up (about blind children and my work in Malawi) even though it’s taking much longer than I anticipated.

Look at the window and the cars .it’s all frozen

Cant wait to get back to Malawi.

Snow! Snow! Snow!

What do you say?

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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Another 2010 World AIDS day is here.

I am in UK and today it has been snowing heavily such that it has affected my plans to remember all those who have passed away due to HIV/AIDS.

Some recent reported good news indicate that HIV/AIDS is on the decline, but I haven’t seen much evidence from Malawi.

Rest in peace all those who have been affected and have died

I gotta go, I am freezing. Seen snow like this before?

What do you say?

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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

BICO website

Blantyre Institute For community Ophthalmology (BICO) website has got all the information that you need to know about eye services in Malawi.

Have you checked the BICO website recently ? its getting better and better.

Any comment on it? here it is , just click on BICO below and it will take you to the site.


Promoting excellence in Community Eye Health.

Did you know that i am the research Director?

Did you know that your help is needed? Find out how.

What do you say?
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Celebrating the life of Prof Moses Chirambo

Celebrating the life of Prof Moses Chirambo
Prof Moses Chirambo sadly died on 14th August 2010 after having worked as an Ophthalmologist in Malawi for over 35 years.
But who was Chirambo?
Moses Chirambo born in 1939 came from the Northern Region of Malawi (Rumphi District) where he did his earlier education before going to Canada where he did medical degree. He eventually graduated as an Ophthalmologist from Hadassah Hebrew University in Jerusalem - Israel in 1972 under Professor Michaelson who noted that he would have a bright future.He spoke fluent Hebrew.Having returned to Malawi in 1973 he was the first Malawian Ophthalmologist, and he quickly made his name as a well known public health Ophthalmologist in the International ophthalmology sector.
In 1983, he established the Southern Africa Development corporation (SADC) school of Ophthalmology in Lilongwe, Malawi supported by Sight Savers International; this school has trained over 500 clinical officers and cataract surgeons (midlevel eye personnel) from all over SADC countries and beyond; and now several countries including Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia have started their own training programmes
In 1995, Chirambo got an International ward from the American Academy and IAPB for his fight in blindness; and continued to get several awards (too many to mention). He was a Regional advisor for Sight Savers International for a long time.
Between 1983 and 1987, Dr Chirambo and the team of International experts in ophthalmology conducted the first population based childhood blindness survey on vitamin A & Xerophthalmia studies in Africa and trachoma studies in the Lower Shire.
From only one mission eye hospital (NKHOMA) when Chirambo started Ophthalmologist, he managed to convince donors and supporting partners to build four additional eye hospital , initially one in each region (Blantyre , Lilongwe & Mzuzu) and then an additional one in Zomba.
Chirambo loved his country –despite having many opportunities he never left Malawi to work outside.
Chirambo was also not tribalistic and regionalist and did not have nepotistic ideas. In terms of eye care the central and the southern regions were markedly developed with infrastructure despite that he came from the Northern region, and it was only in 2007 that he negotiated for the hospital in Mzuzu.
There aren’t many doctors who have made much impact to the welfare of many poor residents in Malawi. The seeds he sowed (among the new ophthalmologists) are likely to go a long way as far as eye care is concerned in Malawi.
Dr Chirambo actively retired from Ophthalmology in 2008 when he was appointed Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Malawi.
Dr Chirambo actively retired from Ophthalmology in 2008 to pursue a career in politics (for the past 10 years he told me not to be involved in politics, so i do not believe he wanted to do this ) Nevertheless he was appointed Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Malawi in 2009 but sadly died before his political career could be assessed..
more Information Chirambo
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Zomba Central Hospital has a new eye wing

The opening of the newest Lions Sight First eye hospital in Zomba in September 2010 Malawi has seen Malawi have a total of five dedicate eye hospitals.
The hospital is a modern facility built by the Lions Club of Norway in collaboration with Lions Club of Zomba.
BICO has helped in training 6 nurses that have seen been deployed to the eye department.
Well done Zomba Central hospital for your new entry.
What do you say?
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Phalombe children's project update

Over 500 children have been screened for refractive errors in Phalombe district and a substantial number have received free eye glasses.
In addition Nazombe School for the blind in Phalombe benefited from the BICO-Lions initiative through donation of 10 beds, 10 mattresses and 15 mosquito nets to the school. The school has 15 full time visually impaired children who are accommodate at the school.
The Phalombe children project has been funded by the Lions Club of Perugia Italy (sponsor) through Lions Club of Limbe, Malawi (host) and is being implemented by Lions club of Limbe in collaboration with BICO. The Lions Club of Limbe have not only helped in identifying blind and visual impaired children from Phalombe and referring them to Blantyre, but have also donated items to all children admitted at the Lions Eye Hospital in Blantyre
BICO would like to thank the Lions Club of Perugia and Lions Club of Limbe for making this project a great success.
Special thanks should go to the Paediatric ophthalmologists who is also the head of the Lions Eye Unit in Blantyre for agreeing to operate on these children.
The children can now see.
BICO will continue looking for partners that can help blind and visual impaired children in other Malawian districts.
What do you say?
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BICO celebrates the graduation of two Malawian Ophthalmologists

Dr Petros Kayange and Dr Tamara Chirambo are the first Malawian Ophthalmologists doctors to graduate locally from College of Medicine; University of Malawi .They will be awarded a masters of medicine (M.Med) in Ophthalmology in 2011. The two doctors were enrolled in the programme in 2006 and have completed their minimum four year.
During their course they had exposure to research being conducted by Blantyre Institute for Community Ophthalmology, and were supervised by the Research director for BICO for their masters thesis.
BICO is proud to have been involved in capacity building in eye care in Malawi, through training of Ophthalmologists, nurses, ophthalmic clinical officer and Community health workers .
Congratulations to our new graduates.
What do you say?
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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Hot,very hot in Blantyre

Today its one of the hottest days in sitting outside my house in baluti but a very hot breeze is coming.who said doctors should be able to afford air conditioning? They were right because i cant hasnt rained yet

Ophthalmology in Malawi

It is harder to talk about ophthalmology in malawi and omit Dr Chirambo's name.but the fact is that he is gone and has left us with very high expectations.Chirambo groomed the 3 of us into different subspecialisation areas of ophthalmogy;myself now a public health ophthalmologist,my boss a paediatric ophthalmologist and the pastor,now a vitreoretinal surgeon.we have also increased the number of general ophthalmologist to 5.the fact is that Chirambo paved the way for us,and we have to follow his footsteps.i used to wonder why he used to be in the office by 7.00am everymorning,but now i am doing the same thing.its called responsibilty

BIC0 website finaly here

After struggling with ICT for over a year,everything has started unfolding.just two years after Blantyre institute for community ophthalmogy (BIC0)was formed , a website has been launced.are you ready for surprizes?check

Congratulations to BIC0 for commitment
Watch for more action on site.

Hotel Azur (hotel Africa) is the worst hotel in Yaounde Cameroun

If u plan to visit Yaounde in Cameroun,dont make a mistake of staying at Hotel Azur.this is a useless hotel,staff have no moners and your valuables are likely to be stolen and the management will not be responsible.the rooms are messy,there is no hot water and the taps are mostly wise u have a risk of being what happened to me?am still trying to recover.because of this experience i will not be going back to Cameruon.

graduating doctors

I must have forgotten to mention that the two doctors qualified as the first malawian eye specialists trained in malawi.this has increased the number .held of the plans to have a top surgical facility in Zomba?

Thursday, 11 November 2010

missing in action

Have been overwhelmed with work.had bad experience while travelling in cameroun.will have to blog more later

Friday, 17 September 2010

Malawian Doctors reluctant to go for Post graduate specialization studies in Ophthalmology at College of Medicine?.

I recently had a chart with some doctors who graduated recently from College of Medicine ,University of Malawi and they indicated that it is us the old doctors who are suppressing them from progressing with the careers in that we do not fight much for them and demand that they go for more specialized studies .They think having got a first medical degree they should be driving porch cars and leaving in low density areas with swimming pool, blah , blah , blah. I still do not have either of the two .
Having completed the first medical degree, most graduates expect things to be put on a silver platter from then onwards but this is rarer the case .Ask them about doing postgraduate studies to specialize in Ophthalmology , and they are not interested .
Post graduate studies these days are a must in the medical field if one wants to make a successfully career.
For example for the last 8 years I have been busy conducting community eye programmes, but none of the young doctors have approach me to know about the career and the benefits and no one is interested in following my footsteps . So why should be they saying we are suppressing them when we do not have anyone to handle the responsibilities to. I have no intention of going on for the 3rd term in community Ophthalmology but circumstances will force me to do so. BY now another Malawian doctor should have been graduating yet there is one in training ? I have two scholarships in Ophthalmology with me yet no candidate is coming forward .Is is because they see me driving a debilitated 3rd hand used motor vehicle and staying in substandard high density Baluti Area in Blantyre ? I am tempted to this so .Well I still love my car .
All in all Ophthalmology is not marketable in Malawi (but also in most parts of Africa) because young doctors believe it does not pay well as a career. Much as financial incentives are important , many other non monetory incentives can lead to job satisfaction in Ophthalmology.
It takes four years to train as an ophthalmologist at College of Medicine in Malawi once you have qualified as a general doctor , and most doctors feel this is too long But its not!
Having been at University for almost 2 decades as a student (I was in 1st year University in 1988, but now I am in final year Research PhD after having done 4 years of Ophthalmology then Masters in public health ) I do not regret any bit of it .I had a successful academic progress and my research career is just starting now.
Well for those who want to do any more studies, four years isn’t too long .Ask me how I managed and I will share the tricks .
If you dont join us , we will remain in power.
Know any Malawian doctor who may be interested in ophthalmology?
What do you say?
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Write up status

Ask me about my status; am known that I am in a “write up status” instead of the usual happily married answer .You see once the major research data collection has been completed , one is suppoosed to go into a write up status, symbolizing that you have to analyze and synthesize the data and then write up paper.This is the stat I am in now , which is really a busy period.Well its even harder harder you are in Malawi (home and dry) where other demanding things pop up all the time .
For instance I am the technical advisor to the Phalombe children project , jointly conducted by Lions Club of Limbe and Lions Club of Perugia , Italy .This is a project where we are screening children for need for glasses and providing glasses for free ; and also refering those who need surgery .Blantyre Insititute for community Ophthalmology (BICO) is coordinating the project .A big screening activity has been planned on 2nd October 2010.
I also have with me my elective Optometry students from University of Waterloo in Canada during this period .
Did you know the Lions Eye hospital in Zomba will be opened on 1st of October and that I have declined to be the director? Too much stress at the moment and I may end up collapsing.
I am concentrating on the write up. Once that is done then we can see what is next?
So when you see me not blogging , well am fine in Blantyre , but going on. See pictures of our project in Phalombe , Nazombe resource centre with Lion members?

What do you say?
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Sunday, 15 August 2010

Death Announcement: Dr Moses Chirambo, Ophthalmologist & Minister of Health Malawi

It is with sadness that I announce the death of Dr Moses Chirambo, the first Malawian Ophthalmologist, and and a well known public health Ophthalmologist in the International ophthalmology sector .He died in South Africa yesterday on Saturday 14th August 2010 from an anesthetist related cardiac complication while undergoing Prostate removal surgery. See my previous blogs about him and his pcitures.
Dr Chirambo actively retired from Ophthalmology in 2008 when he was appointed Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Malawi.
In 1983 , he established the Southern Africa Development corporation (SADC) school of Ophthalmology in Lilongwe, Malawi supported by Sight Savers International ; this school has trained over 500 clinical officers and cataract surgeons (midlevel eye personnel )from all over SADC countries and beyond ; and now several countries including Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia have started their own training programmes
In 1995, Chirambo got an International ward from the American Academy and IAPB for his fight in blindness; and continued to get several awards (too many to mention). He was a Regional advisor for Sight Savers International for a long time.
Between 1983 and 1987, Dr Chirambo, Professor Johnson Gordon and many other colleagues conducted the first population based childhood blindness survey on vitamin A & Xerophthalmia studies in Africa.
For those who knew Chirambo, he will be missed by many.

Join us in Malawi in morning this great achiever in Public Health ophthalmology & epidemiology.want to know more about him? look here

more Information Chirambo

Its a sad day
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Monday, 9 August 2010

Eye specialists and Politics do not go together. We are here for the Blind

Welcome back Prof though you are still an honourable MP:

After a few months of being minister of Health ,I am told the Professor(Prof Chirambo, the eye specialist has been dropped by the other profffesor (our President)but Prof remains a member of parliament.Well some of us knew that African politics and too many brains in one place do not go together ,so it’s not strange that people like him do not last (speculate why).

I am proposing him to be VISION2020 ambassadordor to share success stories of VISION2020 activities in Malawi, and myself to be the deputy ambassodor (since he is sitting in the middle in the pcture and myself on one end).

Should such a genius have joined politics in the first place? What do you think?

Despite nepotism , i will contune ensuring that Malawian including ones from Thyolo have access to good quality eye care .

Email me!
if you have a problem with being non partisan in service delivery.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Thank God for my Mum

Today was a very busy day for me ;am glad its now evening and I am looking forward to my trip tomorrow.
Why was i busy?I have being trying to send this Research article for publication in a peer reviewed journal.Imagine it took me the whole day.
Tomorrow I am going to Portsmouth;to see the harbour ;There is a feery that goes from the port to France-I am not sure whether I want to ride on it.
The trip from London to Port harbour by coach is 4 hours ;i will leave very early in the morning so that i spend the whole day there.I am coming back to London in the evening.

At the momemt i am about to sleep but am admiring the old pictures of my home village back in Mtwalo,Mzimba malawi.
I was there for the unveiling of the tombstone for my late father.
My mum is still looking miserable.
The other women carrying Nsima are smiling
People are happy sitting on the graves and charting not even thinking why they are there.
I had to borrow the red car from a colleague at Ekwendeni Mission hospital.
The grass thatched house (my mums kitchen) reminds me of the healthy organic food that i used to eat before being introduced to the hot dogs ;i feel sorry for her though : she's never been out of that village -maybe i need to do something for that community ? Resources are tight here in the West .

Of being a medical student

Gone were the good days

The photo on the right is a picture of myself :the younger Dr while still a medical student at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Australia in the early 90's.I was at the University of Adelaide medical school in South Australia from 1990 -1995
I was on a UNDP scholarship (through Malawi Government).
Look at how much I have changed today on this right picture taken when i was 37.

Ironically I am still working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital;but this time in Blantyre Malawi Africa.I was 21 then and keen ;staying at flat 40/133 Anzac Highway
I am over 40 ,with a lovely daughter and wife , but staying in a small village location in Blantyre (Baluti) not known by many ;but am still kicking.Time does fly.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

World “Fight against blindness” Cup

Determining the World champions in fighting blindness can be very challenging, but indeed even in the field of blindness , people like Drogba do exists : I am representing Malawi and hope we can get through teams like Zambia ,Zimbabwe ,Mozambique ,and Rwanda quickly so that we start so that we start on focusing on difficulty ones like Ghana, Ivory coast , Nigeria and the Germans . Having done some eye work in the countries I have mentioned and seen how strong they are, I am confident Malawi has a bigger chance of winning .
Everyone including myself has been focusing so much on the world cup that reported for work for the month of June to July has been difficulty .For most , that means cancellation of field work ,and also cancellations of eye theatres to see the major games. Not fair for the poor patients
Having lost a fortune through gambling and betting on the England team; I have no choice but to get back to my roots : fighting against blindness and hoping to get in the semi finals of the “world fight against blindness” semi finals .A wise man warned me to stick to what I am familiar with so that everyone can appreciate. I am proud to report that out of blogs I have written; this one on Malawian Eye Dr becomes health minister has attracted most comments for a number of reasons ;well he has been one the few eye doctors in Sub-Saharan Africa who has left a name of the world map of blindness; and that for retirement he is currently the minister of Health for Malawi . I thank you for your encouraging comments ; and I shall continue writing about blindness in Malawi and other areas.
For politics ,,as Prof Chirambo used to say “Keep out of politcs:it is a dirtly game" and adding on the word “ listen to what I say and not what I do” , I am not amazed that he betrayed himself and become a politican and am keeping my fingers crossed .I have revisited the library to find more photos of him receiving the world cup on behalf many blind persons he has been fighting for .
Currently there are more than 10,000 Malawians who are blind from Cataract and could see again if a simple cataract operation would be performed on them .Most of these I believe will be supporting me
Which side are you on?
What do you want to say?
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Thursday, 10 June 2010

Malawian Post Graduate student eye doctor shines in Berlin, Germany: June2010

Malawian Post Graduate student eye doctor shines in Berlin, Germany: June2010
Dr Tamara Chirambo Nyaka , a student doctor specializing in ophthalmology at college of medicine in Blantyre ,Malawi has been awarded by Germany society of Ophthalmologists (DOG) Euro 5,000 in Berlin ,Germany for presenting the best student research topic in ophthalmology .
Dr Chirambo , a student of Dr Kalua ; is one of the most promising and will be one of the first ophthalmologist doctors to graduate from University of Malawi ,College of Medicine in 2010.
The world ophthalmological congress (WOC) in Berlin attracted over 1,200 speakers from all over the world and was attended by over 17,000 participants from 2nd -9th June 2010.The next International congress will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in 2012 and then Tokyo, Japan in 2014.
In his remarks during a brief visit to the Malawian embassy in Berlin; Professor Isaac Lamba who is the ambassador for Malawi in Germany congratulated Dr Chirambo for putting Malawi on the map.
Dr Khumbo Kalua , an epidemiology and clinical research lecturer of Dr Chirambo established the Blantyre institute for community Ophthalmology (BICO) to advance Eye Research in Malawi and is proud to be associated with the success of one of his students .
Who said Malawians had no brains?
Any comment?
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Blantyre Institute for community Ophthalmology (BICO) update 2010

Remember 2 years ago when Blantyre Institute for Community Ophthalmology (BICO) was founded in with the mission of contributing to the prevention and control of blindness in Malawi and neighboring countries in the Southern part of Africa through conducting practical research, teaching, training, consultancy and advocacy in eye care delivery? Remember the reason for starting the institute? To accelerate eye research in southern part of Africa inline with needs of VISION2020 : the Right to Sight ; the global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness.
The centre aims to coordinate research being carried out by eye care professionals in Malawi and transfer the best of its expertise and experience to an ever-increasing number of eye care institutes across Southern Africa The centre is strategically located within the University Of Malawi College of Medicine teaching eye hospital, the Lions Sight first eye hospital in Blantyre. The current activities of the institute contributing to eye care in Malawi and other developing countries in Southern Africa can be broadly classified under the following areas: • Capacity building of community eye care health workers • Training Programmes – focusing on community eye care delivery • Research capacity building through conducting practical local research (operational and health services research ) • Publications • Consultative support to hospitals with no expertise in community eye health • Advocacy and contribution to Eye Care Programmes at National and International level through the Government and International NGOs. • Fund raising for eye care service delivery • Coordination of the National Trachoma Research •
Blantyre Institute for Community Ophthalmology (BICO) contacts : Department of Ophthalmology ,Lions Sight First Eye hospital P.O.Box E180 Post dot net Blantyre Malawi .Email: kkalua
BICO has already started making huge impact in regards to eye research in the region : in 2008 the trachoma survey was done in Malawi under leadership of BICO ; in 2009 BICO coordinated the trachoma survey in Rwanda; and continued with the childhood blindness survey in Blantyre ,Malawi .Later in 2009 BICO coordinated the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable blindness survey in Malawi .Recently BICO has helped solicit project funds for lions club of Limbe to support blind and visual impaired children in Phalombe, Malawi
There are several researches coming up under BICO in 2010.Indeed BICO is achieving its dream.
You can help BICO achieve more of its ambitions by just making a comment on where to get resources ?
Email BICO!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Happy 4th birthday Tapiwa my Daughter

Tapiwa my daughter is turning 4 on Wednesday 2nd June, and praise the almighty lord for that. Remember her story, born at 7 months premature, weighing like a loaf of bread (<1 Kg) and in intensive care (neonatal ) unit for 3 months Tapiwa at Birth
Well see where she is today!!!!.Who said miracles don’t happen? And see her ; no wonder mum (middle in a hut) can afford to smile ! Does Tapiwa look like she is from Ezondweni,Mtwalo, Mzimba,Malawi?

Unfortunately I cannot be with her on that day; because I am on my way from London to Berlin, Germany to attend World Opthalmological congress Berlin World Congress of ophthalmology from 2nd -9th June. While there I intend to visit an old friend and classmate Martin Mkandawire, a resident of Dresden for many years and also catch up with Chihana , who is at the Malawi embassy in Berlin. Here in London everyone is asking me about the sentencing of the Malawian gay lovers to 14 years improvement with hard labour BBC news Malawian gays and I do not know what to say : expect that I am not gay.
Back to her birthday, obviously my daughter is upset that dad cannot be there on her special day which only happens once a year; and she has requested that her birthday party should therefore happen at the school with her friends. So imagine both mum and me will not be celebrating with her , a sign of growing up and being independent.
The problem with me is that it’s always work with blind persons, work and work; and always on the road. I will be giving two lecturers about blindness in Malawi; and the human resource crisis that we have at present. That is what being an eye doctor and researcher is all about.

Happy Birthday Tapiwa.

Would I have cancelled this trip for my daughter? Or done something different
What do you say?

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Sunday, 9 May 2010

Lions club of Perugia Italy and Lions of Limbe to help blind and visually impaired children in Phalombe, Malawi , thanks to VISION2020

In the days of so many scam and crooked emails, imagine someone you have not met in person or known before emails you and promises that they will give you USD 10,000 if you get back to them. Most of us including myself will disregard such an email or send it to trash and I almost did that a year ago; thank god I did not delete the email and this is why as I am blogging now USD 10,000 has been transferred to the Lions Club of Limbe in Malawi to help the blind and visually impaired children.
You see Lion Marco Terzetti of Perugia Lions club in Italy had by chance came across my blog site in December 2008 ; and was fascinated with articles on VISION2020 -the global initiative to fight blindness and what was being done in Malawi especially in regard to blind and visually impaired children .At that time I was blogging frequently about the project I was launching in Southern Malawi to help blind children ; and the challenges we were facing in Malawi .Honestly speaking I wasn’t blogging to ask for money from anyone .So when he emailed back with a few words saying “email me back to collect a cheque for your project in Malawi” I said to myself here we go with another of those Nigerian emails that claim that thousands of dollars have been left in bank in Abuja and that I should help the widow and get a 50% share ( and I do get a lot of these emails lately).
Putting my trust in God, I replied to Marco asking how this was going to be possible; after all what was his interest as he didn’t know me.
The rest is history (email me to get what followed after that); but I am proud to announce that through my blog site , the Lions Club of Limbe Malawi have benefited from Lions of Perugia ,Italy with a grant of USD10,000 to support a project in Phalombe dealing with blind and visually impaired children.
I came up with the idea that the project should take place in Phalombe. Lions Clubs Lions clubs have been a very strong supporting partner for VISION2020 ; and the first phase of their projects concentrated on infrastructure development –which for Malawi resulted in Lions club building 4 Lions eye hospitals and donating them to Government .I work at the biggest Lions Sight first eye hospital in Malawi , which is located at Queen Elizabeth in Blantyre .The second phase of Lions Project concentrated on supporting surgeries to reverse blindness from Trachoma ; and countries like Ethiopia have massively benefited from the Lions Fund.
Ironically the VISION2020 head offices are in London at the International Centre for Eye Health where I am based when I am in London. This should not come as a surprise that I am a strong advocate of VISION2020.
I am happy for now that through this VISION2020 initiative and the partnership with Lions club, the poor blind and severely visually impaired children from Phalombe, Malawi will be helped. Meanwhile I continue exploring other avenues of how to promote VISION2020 in Malawi. Sorry i forgot , I am a Lion member myself even though I am not in the picture with Lions of Limbe members.But you can see me among the children in my red polo t-shirt.Project is for 2010-2011; but you can come in after!!

Want to help ?
Any ideas ?

What do you say?

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Unrealistic expectations

Well, it’s a million dollar question!! How do you tell this young blind child that when he grows up he will not be a soldier or a doctor as he wants .At-least not in Malawi and not a child from this rural Phalombe area . You see my mission to Phalombe was to visit the blind and visually impaired children at Nazombe primary school , in Chirunga, Phalombe which is situated near the Malawi Mozambican border .I have found the 15 blind children ; all in school and with a lot of aspirations ; two in particular want to become come a doctor and a soldier respectively. They are both learning at the school in Braille .For medicine I suppose you can go a long way with Braille ; but there is a lot of skills needed that it would be impractical for a blind child in Malawi to continue with the course .for the military , there is a lot of hard exercises and heavy duty work ; which in my opinion a blind child cannot cope up with .But here I am as a mentor , trying to encourage these children not to quit school , so how do I tell them you will never be a doctor or soldier ; that would demolise the children .
I am aware that now we talk of inclusive education; where the environment is modified to suit the blind child’s needs.I have seen this in UK , mainly at one blind school that we visited in Scotland ; and a budget of millions of pounds is needed every year to support such children .Malawi is too poor, so policy makers would not push for the move to put billions of kwacha just for the education of the few blind children .Its a moral dilemma , and I am not sure which side to follow .
Well, the truth is that all children need a decent education(whether blind or not) and that at the moment only 20% of blind children are attending school .
Do you want to suggest what can be the solution?
What do you say?

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Monday, 3 May 2010

Volcano in Iceland

I was caught up in the European airline mess that happened a few weeks ago as a result of the volcano in Iceland .I could not proceed with my trip.

I happened to be affected by the volcano from 17th April -23rd April ; and I lost about USD 1000 as a result (ask me how privately!!!) . Well the volcano didnt happen in Malawi so I obviously wasnt there . I had initially planned to blog about it ; and finding myself being a victim of the air aviation industry , I could not afford to find time to blog anymore .I have after a few days finally reached my final destination ,trying to recover from the financial loss and once I settle , I will write a blog about how the volcano in Iceland affected me.
Were you also travelling during that time ? did you get affected ?

What do you say?
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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Blogging from Kilimanjaro, Moshi Tanzania

I have come to attend the gender and blindness meeting at Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology; and I have a chance to catch up with old friends in Tanzania .I am staying at Bristol cottages in Moshi.
We are here to discuss why less women access eye services all over the world ; and I have been asked to present findings as to whether it is true that girls also with blinding conditions access services less that boys . And yes it is true ; blind girls access less services than boys and something needs to be done to help more girls access services .
This meeting has drawn experts from all over the world (about 22 in total); we have friends from Seva foundation USA and Canada ;UK; Nepal ; Guatemala; India ; Egypt; Kenya ,South Africa Malawi and of-course the host Tanzania .
We have mapped out some strategies that we need to follow in the next 18-24 months to ensure that we move forward in addressing gender inequities in eye health.
With a team of experts from IAPB in attendance (Abi and Daniel); I believe we have a good platform for moving our agenda forward.
Moshi has been very hot this time; I gues the global warming has finally got us .Imagine snow is still bng seen covering top of Kilimanjaro mountain despite the great hit .
Today I have met an old good friend Joseph Banzi who we stayed together in UK for a year while doing our public health postgraduate degree in 2005.He is now a big boss working with Pathfinder ; an NGO that deals with HIV/AIDS. Well one day I wil be a big fish too; I gues time is the greatest predictor. We have visited the house that he is building in Moshi .
Abi from IAPB would like me to write a blog for the website; but I seem to be dry on what to write.
Well, I am still here for a few more days; maybe I will come up with something.
Have you been to Kilimanjaro?
What do you say?
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Thursday, 11 February 2010

Live Earth London 2010 to benefit Malawi

Water crisis remains a problem in Malawi , with most parts of Blantyre still being rationed .With the rainy season not having brought much water this year,the situation is likely to be worsened in 2010 as most rivers are still dry up to now .
But all is not lost for Malawi; there are people out there who are trying to raise funds to combat water crisis in countries like Malawi .Pump Aid , a leading water charity is calling on 14,000 people to dust off those running shoes and take part in The Dow Live Earth Run for Water London event, which will take place on 18th April 2010.
Live Earth is happening across the world on 18th April 2010 and the London event in Victoria Park will be one of the largest. It is a 6km run/walk charity event followed by a free concert performed by global superstars, to raise awareness and funds to combat the global water crisis.
The Dow Live Earth Run for Water London will take place in Victoria Park on April 18th 2010 at 10am. Entrants will be rewarded with a fantastic free live concert featuring global superstars after the run, and there will also be Water Villages with activities to help raise awareness of the world’s water crisis. The last Live Earth London concert featured artists such as: Madonna, Kasabian, Metallica, Beastie Boys and The Black Eyed Peas; so get signed up and get those running shoes on and be part of this phenomenon that will take place on the 18th April 2010!
The Dow Live Earth Run for Water is the largest solutions-based initiative in history aimed at solving the world's water crisis. The Dow Live Earth Run for Water is a globally-unified day of commitment and awareness that will involve thousands of runners, celebrities, and most importantly, ordinary people who want to make a difference throughout the world.
I have been told by the communication Intern for Pump aid that the funds raised in London by Live Earth London 2010 will benefit Malawi ; let us hope our greedy politicians do not pocket all the money for personal use.
Why am I concerned about water when as an an eye doctor am always busy with blind children and adults?
Blinding Eye diseases like Trachoma shown in the picture are mainly present due lack of water leading unhygienic conditions which cause eye infections that eventually lead to blindness .
So anyone fighting water problem in Malawi is indirectly fighting eye diseases. I plan to attend the concert in London.
Do you want to end WATER POVERTY- then Sign up to the global Dow Live Earth 6K Run for Water on 18th April 2010 for Pump Aid


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Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Happy Birth day

Today 2nd February I am a year older.I wish myself a happy birthday .
As usual i am out of Blantyre on a field trip within Malawi .

And I can feel that my body is quickly been worn day by day ;

Thanks to the many days spent in the community fighting blindness, at the expense of my health.

I think it is time to retire and give chance to the young ones to continue where I will have left . maybe I can spend more time with my family and lovely daughter

What do you say?

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Sunday, 3 January 2010

2010 is here

Some of us just squeezed ourselves to get in to the new year, and somehow made it .Lucky again !!!
Myself Got big plans for 2010; if god allows.
Still working on new year’s resolutions , one of them may include migrating from Malawi .
Anyway I spend almost 9 months away from Malawi this year, so got time to see once gain review what Uk offers . Will be writing about my experiences with blind children in Malawi.
What are your plans?
Any comment?
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