Wednesday, 24 November 2010

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..
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