Eye Health

Updated 24 November 2014

Future eye health leaders in Africa lauded

The eye health fraternity in Africa paid homage to the winner of the coveted Future Eye Research Health Leader Award at the 2014 Annual Scientific congress in Livingstone Zambia on 20 November 2014.

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Dr Tesfaye Tadesse, a young ophthalmologist from Ethiopia received the award for compiling the most outstanding resident abstract for the congress. The abstract titled “A Randomised Clinical Trial Comparing Retrobulbar Injection of Absolute Alcohol and Chlorpromazine in Managing Painful Blind Eyes Menelik II Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia” confirmed that both absolute alcohol and chlorpromazine (CPZ) are effective and comparable agents in managing painful blind eyes.

“Since resources are limited in my country, as they are in other African countries, the evidence of this paper provides local ophthalmologists the option of using locally available agents with the assurance that they will have satisfactory results. Winning the award is like one of those dream come true moments. Thank you very much for giving me this magnificent opportunity,” exclaimed a delighted Dr Tadesse.

“Although existing literature had shown both alcohol and CPZ to be effective agents, Dr Tadesse’s study looked at proving their comparative efficacy and safety using a randomised controlled trial which is considered to be the gold standard of research design and resulted in more conclusive evidence,” explains Dr Dhalla, Research Lead at COECSA and head of the selection panel.

“This is the type of research which gives evidence to our practice and should therefore be encouraged. Not only did the research design fit very well with the conference theme of “Promoting Evidence Based Practice in Eye Health”, but the research topic is not a common theme. The findings will be very useful for the clinicians who treat these conditions which are not uncommon in our area,” said Dhalla.

Dr Tadessa received the award which is co-sponsored by Orbis, a global non-profit organisation working in developing countries to reduce preventable and treatable blindness and visual impairment, and The College of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (COECSA). The award was established this year as part of COECSA’s commitment to develop future eye health leaders through mentorship and career planning. Orbis’ sponsorship is based on the organisations drive to strengthen Human Resources for Eye Health (HReH) in Africa.

Read: Saving African children's sight


“We believe that due recognition will feed into developing the general field of ophthalmology in the region as well as contributing to policy development and implementation. The most effective entry point, in our view, is through the young ophthalmologists currently undergoing training or recently graduated and have entered into active service in the country,” explains Dr Dhalla.

“One of the biggest barriers to the goal of providing eye health for all in Africa is the critical shortage of eye health workers. Orbis in partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Africa and in collaboration with COECSA will effectively roll out HReH strengthening activities in the Eastern and Southern Africa region through the Human Resources Strengthening Initiative for Eye Health in Africa,” explains Ms. Halli Manolakos-Tsehisi, Associate Director of Programme at Orbis Africa.

In addition to recognition amongst his peers and mentors as winner of the Future Eye Research Health Leader Award, Dr Tadesse will receive support from Orbis who will fund mentorship and leadership development. He also received financial support to cover conference registration fees, air travel costs and 2 nights’ accommodation at the 2014 Annual Scientific congress in Livingstone Zambia.

Read more:
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African Americans at greatest risk for vision loss
Eye-bleaching: a dangerous trend

 

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Optometrist

Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg and is currently practising at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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