Optimizing community health worker programming through supervision

Authored by Kok Maryse (KIT Royal Tropical Institute)

After an extensive and careful development process, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched the new WHO guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programmes. Recognizing that community health workers (CHWs) can effectively deliver health services at community level, the guideline aims to

assist national governments and national and international partners to improve the design, implementation, performance and evaluation of CHW programmes, contributing to the progressive realization of universal health coverage”.

Many governments in low- and middle-income countries have formally integrated or are in the process of integrating CHWs in the health system. There exists a huge variety of CHWs between and within countries: paid or voluntary, those with specific or general roles and tasks, working for government or non-governmental organizations. Most have in common that they are from the communities that they serve, and have a minimum level of education related to the roles and tasks they perform, but no professional or para-professional education.

When looking at the new WHO guidelines, we see that the WHO suggests that supportive supervision should take place in CHW programmes, which includes strategies such as coaching and mentoring, the use of observation of service delivery, performance data and community feedback. This recommendation is conditional, because of the low certainty of the evidence available.

Given the widely accepted importance of supervision in improving CHW performance, we introduced a group supervision intervention in four countries in 2014/2015: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique. In two countries, the group supervision, conducted by trained CHW supervisors, was complemented with peer supervision. We followed the CHWs involved over the period of one year and found that the intervention was said to raise CHW motivation, however, we did not measure an increase in motivational outcomes. In our paper, we discuss various reasons on what could have caused the differences in qualitative and quantitative findings. The most important one might be the recognition that the complexity of CHWs’ interface role (between communities and the health sector) and the multiple factors, besides supervision, that could contribute to CHW motivation make it difficult to proof the effectiveness of complex interventions on, in this case, improving CHW motivation.

Despite this, the mixed-methods study does provide evidence that is useful for consideration in CHW policies and programing. Aspects of the intervention that made the supervision to be perceived more supportive were

  • the problem-solving focus
  • joint responsibilities and team work
  • cross learning and skill sharing
  • the supervisor taking a facilitating and coaching role and, to a lesser extent,
  • empowerment and participation of supervisees in decision making

While we think this study contributed to addressing the evidence gap on different combinations of supportive supervision strategies for CHWs as mentioned by the WHO in the new guideline, we recognize that further research is needed, that looks into issues such as performance tracking and supervision frequency. A recent tool enabling to measure perceived supervision of CHWs could be of help.

This work was part of the REACHOUT consortium.

Image credit: REACH Trust

Group Study Area

In semester 2 of the last academic year, Library Staff undertook a feedback project to improve the group study area in the Library (also known as the Wellcome Gallery). We used a range of feedback techniques to find out why students used the space, what they thought of the space, and how we could make it better for them.

Following on from the project, we made a number of changes to the space over the summer, and now we’d like to find out what you think. From 12th to 23rd November we’ll be asking you for your feedback. We’ll have feedback sheets out in the space, or if you prefer, you can use our online feedback form.

What we learnt in 2017/18:

  • The AC unit noise is too loud
  • More group study space is needed
  • The space is popular for group and solo study
  • The food and drink rules need to be relaxed
  • The relaxed environment is popular
  • The study carrells are too dark to use
  • The space is cluttered
  • There are not enough power sockets.

What we did in 2017/18:

  • Relaxed the food and drink rules
  • Kept a mixture of group and solo study spaces
  • Removed clutter
  • Moved the study carrells to an area with better lighting
  • Kept the relaxed environment
  • Added extra study spaces
  • Added extra power sockets
  • Added large laptop connector screens.

We’ll also be running a week of user experience observations from the 15th to 21st November. Three times a day, members of library staff will walk round the Library spaces and record user behaviour. For example is the user working alone or in a group; are they using a laptop and/or books? No personal information will be recorded and library users will not be approached or interviewed.  We use this information to learn more about why people use the library, which are the most popular spaces, and to help guide our decision making about the library space and services.

You can find out information about our previous feedback projects on our Student Portal pages.




Poetry of War: Sir Ronald Ross and the First World War

Sir Ronald Ross is best known for being the discoverer of the malaria vector in 1897. His discovery brought him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1902, the first Briton to be awarded the prize in Medicine. What is less known is Ross’ love for literature, in fact, Ross was a prolific writer of novels and in particular, poems.

Throughout his life, Ross’ poems focused on subjects close to his heart, like the devastation of malaria as seen in Indian Fevers:

Indian Fevers

In this, O Nature, yield I pray to me.

I pace and pace, and think and think, and take

The fever’d hands, and note down all I see,

That some dim distant light may haply break.


The painful faces ask, can we not cure?

We answer, No, not yet; we seek the laws.

O God, reveal thro’ all this thing obscure

The unseen small, but million-murdering cause.


Written before his discovery in 1897, Indian Fevers demonstrates the frustration of Ross unable to help those who have been inflicted with malaria, knowing that discovering the cause of the disease can help with prevention.

Ross in 1917, with the poem, ‘The Anniversary’, but here, Ross looks at how the world has forgotten the importance of his discovery and the lives it has saved since:

The Anniversary


Now twenty years ago

This day we found the thing;

With science and with skill

We found; then came the sting –

What we with endless labour won

The thick world scorned:

Not worth a word to-day-

Not worth remembering.


O Gorgeous Gardens, Lands

Of beauty where the Sun

His lordly raiment trails

All day with light enspun,

We found the death that lurk’d beneath

Your purple leaves,

We found your secret foe,

The million-murdering one;


And clapp’d our hands and thought

Your teeming width would ring

With that great victory – more

Than battling hosts can bring.


Ah, well-men laugh’d. The years have


The world is cold –

Some million lives a year,

Not worth remembering!


Ascended from below

Men still remain too small;

With belly-wisdon big

They fight and bite and bawl,

These larval angels! –but when true

Achievement comes-trifling doctor’s matter-

No consequence at all!


R.C. Ross, courtesy of Sherborne School Archives

R.C. Ross, courtesy of Sherborne School Archives 


Ross also wrote extensively about the First World War, in his poems, ‘Duty’, ‘Farewells’, ‘Black August’, and ‘Apocalypse’, poems about the devastation of war and the loss it brought. Yet, it is his poem, ‘The Father’, written in 1918, that shows us Ross’ personal loss. In 1914, Sir Ronald Ross’ third child, Ronald Campbell Ross, 2nd Lieutenant in The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), 2nd Battalion, died on 26th August at the : he was 19 years old.

The Father

Come with me then, my son;

Thine eyes are wide for truth:

And I will give thee memories,

And thou shalt give me youth.


The lake laps in silver,

The streamlet leaps her length:

And I will give thee wisdom,

And thou shalt give me strength.


The mist is on the moorland,

The rain roughs the reed:

And I will give thee patience,

And thou shalt give me speed.

When lightings lash the skyline

The shalt thou learn thy part:

And when the heav’ns are direst,

For thee to give me heart.


Forthrightness I will teach thee;

The vision and the scope;

To hold the hand of honour:-

And thou shalt give me hope;

And when the heav’ns are deepest

And stars most bright above;

May god then teach thee duty;

And thou shalt teach me love.


I dream’d, a wintry sunlight

Fill’d all the misted air,

And through the golden dead leaves

My son and I walk’d there,


And said, “We twain together

Will turn the fateful page;

And I will give thee all things

And thou shalt warm mine age.”


But sudden an Angel stood there

And took his hand from mine;

The chill mist damp’d and darken’d;

They faded line by line.

The Angel cried in anger,

“Thou shalt not lead, but I;

Ye old men make the evils

Whereof the young men die.”


A stronger hand than mine, son,

Shall guide – a greater truth:

And I will keep rememberance,

And thou shalt – keep thy youth.


The lake laps in silver,

The streamlet leaps her length:

And I have still my wisdom,

But thou, not thou, thy strength.


The fog fills the moorland,

The wind whips the reed:

And I have still more patience,

But where is now thy speed?


The heav’ns are the blackest,

The stars hid above:

Oh, God hath taught thee duty,

More deep than any love.


Cold, cold November,

Tell me why thou are so sad.

“When leaves are falling,

Shall I then, or thou, be glad?”


Why sigh so often,

All ye passing gusts of wind?

“For the pale and beauteous,

We have left, and thou, behind.”


Why weep ye, grey clouds,

O’er the black and blasted heath?

“For the cold and beauteous,

That we see, and thou, beneath.”


Cold, cold, they lie there,

There our noble dear son lie;

But, hear ye Angels,

Did they not die in honour?


Cold, cold, the answer

From the mocking mistral came,

“They died in glory;

But their glory is your shame.”

Sir Ronald Ross and malaria in the First World War

To commemorate the anniversary of the end of the First World War, the Archives Service will be posting a number of war related blogs over the next few days.

Sir Ronald Ross

The LSHTM Archives Service holds the records of Sir Ronald Ross, discoverer of the mosquito transmission of malaria and the first Briton to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. He made a significant contribution to the First World War through his research and treatment of soldiers suffering from tropical diseases, primarily malaria and dysentery.

As the First World War progressed it was necessary to send soldiers to countries where tropical diseases were virulent. Malaria was a particular problem in Salonika, Mesopotamia, Palestine and East Africa. The casualties from tropical diseases outnumbered those inflicted by the enemy by 30 to 1, and in these places it was a war of germs rather than of guns. Ross spent much of the war treating servicemen suffering from malaria and also continuing his research into the prevention of the disease both at home and overseas.

Towards the latter part of the war, large numbers of soldiers were returning to Britain suffering from malaria. Measures were taken to protect the civilian population and to prevent indigenous infection amongst British troops. These included the appointment of consultants in malaria and the establishment of concentration centres which increased the control and treatment of those suffering from malaria. However, even though there were special measures in place, more than 500 civilians became infected with malaria. Ross corresponded with colleagues working at the concentration centres and treated patients at the Malaria Department of the 4th London General Hospital, part of King’s College Hospital.

At the end of the war, Ross continued his advisory work on malaria, including the arrangements for soldiers chronically affected by the disease. In 1919 he was appointed the Malaria Consultant to the Ministry of Pensions.

Army camp at Itea in Greece in 1917

Although Ross held a number of roles during the war, there were times when he was not employed by the War Office, and this caused one of his colleagues, David Thomson, with whom he worked in Alexandria to write the following in June 1916: ‘I think it is high time that questions were asked in Parliament as to why the greatest tropical sanitary expert in the world is not at present occupying some army post worthy of his knowledge and ability. I am perfectly certain that the American sanitarians including Surgeon General Gorgas are looking with blank amazement or will look when the sanitary faults in the East come to light and they will wonder why a blunder so preposterous was made, in that you were not employed in a post of high administrative authority with regard to the sanitation in the campaigns in warm climates.’

For further information, please contact the Archive Service at archives@lshtm.ac.uk or search our online catalogue at: http://calmview.lshtm.ac.uk/calmview/

1 – 7 November 2018

New research led by the MRC Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine finds that good housing with indoor plumbing may be key in eliminating childhood malnutrition and stunting. Andrew Prentice is quoted in The Guardian: “The takeaway message from our research is that there’s a very high threshold of hygiene necessary to allow children to grow properly – communities need improved living conditions and access to clean water piped into their homes. These findings should redirect governments’ priorities, shifting efforts to providing drastically better housing, and better access to clean water.

Kimberley Fornace speaks to Science News about zoonotic malaria, also known as P. knowlesi, and how the disease is increasingly moving from monkeys to humans in Malaysia. Kimberley said: “It feels almost like P. knowlesi follows deforestation, several years after a forest is cut back, nearby communities get a peak of P. knowlesi. It is a really good example of how a disease can emerge and change.”

Dan Bausch is quoted in Sci Dev on why prevention needs to be a priority in tackling Ebola. Dan said: “The cost of the international response to major epidemics will always be much higher than the cost of strengthening health infrastructures to prevent them in the first place.” (article written in French please use Google translate)

Rachel Lowe comments in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on West Nile virus spreading in Europe, which has led to calls for greater awareness of the infection. Rachel said: “People are maybe becoming more aware of infectious diseases in general, but they need to be more aware of the fact there are such diseases, like West Nile virus, in Europe.”

Heidi Larson is quoted in Metro US on the rise of measles outbreaks in the United States. Heidi said: “Measles outbreaks are often sparked from cases being brought into the U.S. from other countries and then transmitting to those who are not vaccinated.”

Brian Greenwood is profiled on the WHO website about his role on the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee and his career in public health and malaria research. On his career, Brian said: “When we organized the first Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) meeting in 1997 we had to work really hard to convince people to attend, and interestingly, there were few participants from across the African continent. Malaria was very much a neglected disease, and it has really been in the last 2 decades that interest has developed.”

John Cairns comments in a BMJ opinion piece about how China is moving to increase spend on drugs, devices, and diagnostics for health care. John Said: “The weakness of the evidence on the clinical and cost effectiveness of new cancer drugs was another message repeated during the meeting. Most data are derived from short term, poorly controlled trials, conducted in unrepresentative populations, during which treatment is often switched; added to which there is a paucity of quality of life data.”

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM Twitter page, with Prof Heidi Larson welcoming attendees to the Women Leaders in Global Health Conference 2018, being hosted at LSHTM on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 November.

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Is user fee removal a way towards universal coverage of delivery care in Sub-Saharan Africa? Compelling evidence from Burkina Faso

Written by Hoa T. Nguyen1, David Zombré², Valery Ridde2,3, Manuela De Allegri1

It is well known that user fees charged at point of use constitute a major financial barrier to accessing health care, especially for vulnerable groups like pregnant women. Every year, mainly due to the financial barriers, more than 53 million women around the world have no access to delivery care at all. These women exist everywhere, even in high-income setting, like the migrant mothers in the UK.

In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the region with the world’s highest maternal and neonatal mortality, still almost half of all deliveries take place at home without the presence of a skilled birth attendant. Furthermore, there is a large amount of discrepancy between countries ranging from 99.9% of births assisted by a skilled attendant in Libya to as little as 19.4% in South Sudan. In recognition that birth is the time of greatest risks for both mothers and newborns, almost twenty SSA countries have recently implemented reforms to reduce or eliminate user fees for delivery care services. While evidence indicates that user fee removal policies can successfully increase service use in the short term, we do not know if their positive effects can be sustained over time.

Our recent study in Health Policy and Planning has contributed in addressing this knowledge gap by evaluating the impact of the two user fee interventions having targeted delivery care in Burkina Faso in the last decade.

  1. The first intervention is the Government led national user fee reduction policy for delivery and emergency obstetric care (SONU) launched in January 2007
  2. The second one is the complete user fee removal pilot (the pilot) implemented by HELP (a German NGO funded by ECHO) in two districts of the Sahel region starting in September 2008

The SONU policy entailed an 80% subsidy of user fees for delivery care services, and women were required to pay the remaining 20% at point of service. The pilot covered the remaining 20% fees left for women to pay. Both SONU and the pilot were implemented in conjunction with other parallel initiatives to enhance the quality of maternal care, including training of health workers and purchases of medical equipment.

Using routine data on facility-based delivery from all primary health care centers in the four districts of the Sahel region over the 2004 – 2014 period, we found that both SONU and the pilot led to a sustained increase in the use of delivery care services. SONU produced an accumulative increase of 31.4% in the proportion of facility-based delivery over 8 years (2007-2014). The pilot further enhanced utilization and produced an additional increase of 23.2% over 6 years (2008-2014). However, these increasing trends did not continue to reach full coverage, i.e. ensuring that all women deliver at a health facility. Instead, they stabilized 3 years and 4 years after the onset of SONU and the pilot, respectively.

Our study provides evidence that user fee reduction and removal policies are effective in increasing service use in the long term. Also, the magnitude of effects attributed to SONU detected in our study were much larger than those reported in other SSA countries, like Senegal and Ghana which have similar user fee reforms in place.  Our findings demonstrated a real success story of a national user fee reform initiated and funded by its own government.

Importantly, the complete removal of user fees produced additional benefit on services use than the 80% reduction of user fees that the SONU policy provided. This suggests that user fee removal is the first important step to take to close or at least narrow gaps due to financial barriers for service use.

Having recognized the additional benefit of full removal, in June 2016, the government of Burkina Faso took firm action to switch from the 80% user fee reduction policy to the nationwide free health care policy, lifting fees for all health services for pregnant and lactating women and for children under 5.

We have to note, however, that user fee removal policies are not sufficient enough to turn the goal of universal coverage of skilled birth attendance into a reality. Supporting measures, addressing for instance, geographical barriers and knowledge gaps are needed to achieve the target that all women deliver in the presence of a skilled attendant. It is also very important that future research examines the impact of user fees on the health of mothers and their newborns, which is the ultimate goal of these reforms.

Author information:

1Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, Heidelberg University

²University of Montreal Public Health Research Institute, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine

3French Institute for Research on sustainable Development, IRD-Université Paris Descartes, Universités Paris Sorbonne Cités

Main image credit: David Zombre with permission from health workers and mothers

Image 2 credit: David Zombre with permission from health workers and mothers

FORCE2018: Post-conference Reflections

Keywords: DORA, Responsible metrics, data sharing, mental health, bibliometrics, Creative Commons


Further to my post Planning to get the most out of FORCE2018, written before the conference, I have been back from Montreal for over a fortnight now and have had time to reflect on the key points I have learned from the experience, as well as how I wish to integrate this into my professional work moving forwards.

I participated in a publisher-led conversation about what support we might want to see from them regarding open access books and was encouraged to submit a poster at the conference, which I found to be a beneficial experience. Standing by this during the poster sessions led to several engaging discussions with people from across the open scholarship environment, from a lawyer, a fellow researcher, librarians and publishers. I found it encouraging that people with a variety of outlooks, coming from a variety of professional backgrounds and personal interests, could also appreciate the positivity of Creative Commons licences and consider the ways in which their use can be extended beyond academia, in addition to across the research and teaching process.

In my previous write-up, I said I was particularly looking forward to Asura Enkhbayar’s presentation linking Wittgenstein and scholarly communications. I found this humorous and insightful, and it was great to see it appreciated by a room full of enthusiastic attendees on the first session of the first official day.

Asura Enkhbayar presenting ‘Throwing away the ladder. Wittgenstein’s philosophy and and scholarly communication’

Central Themes

Over the course of the workshops and presentations (from October 10-12, 2018), I was struck by the proportion of the challenges that were discussed in an international setting that are the same as those that we face in the UK. This convinced me that the move towards open scholarship is a global challenge that we must tackle from both local and international settings.

What follows is a brief summary, in which I seek to highlight my conviction that the academic reward structure must be revisited as a matter of priority to ensure that the effect of associated procedures are not detrimental to the progression of open scholarship or the mental wellbeing of academics. The failure to protect either of these is also the failure to ensure the flourishing of the pursuit of knowledge in our societies. It seems to me that one constructive way we might confront such a challenge is by doubling down on our efforts to further existing commitment for essential initiatives like the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

Open Access and Academic Reward and Recognition Policies

A theme that struck me throughout the conference was the need to ensure that mission statements of institutions and reward procedures align with initiatives prioritising open research.

Erin McKiernan’s excellent presentation demonstrated the extent of the disparity between academic promotion procedures and open research. I was alarmed by the results, which showed that words that appeared regularly within tenure review documents include ‘public’, ‘community’, ‘public engagement’ and ‘community engagement’, all of which have close affiliations with open research, whilst only 5% of analysed documents directly mention ‘open access’. Moreover when such documents mentioned ‘open access’ they often did so with neutral or even negative connotations. This highlighted to me that the challenges we face in Europe are shared by institutions in North America, and most likely, also elsewhere. It consequently convinced me of the need to direct extensive efforts in this area, particularly towards encouraging a culture shift in those who are empowered to revise reward procedures.

Erin McKiernan presenting ‘A look at public engagement, publication outputs and metrics in the tenure review process’


We ought to combine this ongoing effort with those that guide researchers who are earlier on in their careers, who are most receptive to adopting good practice, which can have a ripple effect, informing the practice of their colleagues. As such, Dominique Roche’s presentation ‘Open data: nice people can’t share!’ (summarised in his poster) touched upon a welcome topic by examining why researchers might be hesitant to share their work. An understanding of this can help drive a culture change that works from the ground up.


San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

Returning to the findings of Erin McKiernan’s presentation, these led me to consider a theme that emerged at an open access meeting in London (known as the ‘London Open Access Network’, or ‘LOAN’ meeting) the week prior to the conference. At this meeting, a colleague shared thoughts on an event that took place in September, ‘Mapping the Future of Research Assessment’ at Imperial College London. This event (#ImperialDora) associated the theme of review procedures with the need to consecrate the ethos of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) (of which London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a signatory) with institutional policies. Many stakeholders are working to improve good practice within this area, striving to promote real change in research assessment, but challenges remain. The Imperial College event highlighted, as outlined in Elizabeth Gadd’s post on the LSE Impact Blog, the need to ensure that such practices are not in conflict with the necessity to protect and foster mental health within Higher Education Environments, amongst staff and students alike. This seems to me an area that we at LSHTM, a School that underlined our commitment to tackling stigma surrounding mental health by signing the Time to Change Employer’s Pledge, have to take seriously.

LSHTM Open Access Week – Screening ‘Paywall the Movie’

One event that LSHTM ran for our open access month series was a screening of the movie ‘Paywall: the Business of Scholarship’ (in which many attendees of FORCE2018 are featured!). In the post-screening discussion, one member of staff noted the continued and problematic use of impact factors in review procedures. This prompted an interesting discussion within the room similar to that which took place during many of the presentations at FORCE2018, notably, during the questions after Elisabeth Shook’s presentation ‘Thanks, Sci-Hub!’.

This too convinced me of the global commonality of such issues within Higher Education. The theme of impact factors (created by Eugene Garfield for selecting journals to include in the Science Citation Index in the 1960s,) which are no longer deemed credible, was examined in another engaging session at FORCE2018 by the bibliometrician Stefanie Haustein, who ran a metrics literacy quiz on Twitter during her talk. Within her talk, Stefanie highlighted that the impact factor is mentioned by one fifth of Canadian and US universities in review, tenure and promotion documents, despite having widely been recognised to cause harm to scholarly communication by causing ‘salami publishing’, ‘citation cartels’ and fostering a problematic ‘publish or perish’ mentality.

Overall, the event reminded me of the shared work that we have to do as a community concerned with open scholarship. It left me feeling lucky to reside in London (although Montreal was beautiful to see in the Autumn!) where participating in such a community can occur with relative ease thanks to networks like ‘LOAN’ bringing together workers promoting open research in various institutions. In the meantime, I would encourage individual researchers and organisations to read and sign DORA and express these values when they hear of the use of impact factors to make unjustified claims for the quality of research.


History in the Making: Ross’s Slides Explored & Explained


Ross’s slides box

In 2016, students from the History & Health M.Sc. module suggested that the Archives should put Sir Ronald Ross’s malarial slides, dating from 1900, under the microscope.


Slide with gentian stain


Due to the age and rarity of these slides, you can imagine I was a little nervous but also very excited wondering what we might find!  With the great expertise and enthusiasm of Ailie Robinson, Mojca Kristan and staff from the Teaching & Diagnostic Unit, slides were examined under the microscope. Wonderfully, they were still viable and presented some exciting results.

The staining techniques for slides – for example the use of gentian violet – has changed considerably since the 19th century, but we could still see oocysts and gametocytes, and Cheryl Whitehorn photographed the results.

On Wednesday 28th November, 12.30-2pm, Manson Foyer area, drop by to see the slides, along with rare books on the subject of malaria and a selection of Ross’s archives, including his prize brass microscope from 1902 and his renowned notebook, where in 1897 he meticulously recorded his dissection of the mosquito mid-gut to prove the mosquito as malarial vector. Ross's 1897 notebook

From the Rare Books collection

We have experts Ailie Robinson, Cheryl Whitehorn, Mojca Kristan, William Stone and Claire Rogers on hand to explain the slides, and the archivists will be there to show you more details of Ross’s archive.

Look out for posters and see upcoming details on Noticeboard and @LSHTMArchives

For more information on the Archives Service, see our web pages


World Sight Day 2018 – Events from Alumna Jacquelyn O’Banion in Atlanta GA, USA

Top: Patients waiting to be screened. We had 200-300 patient arrive for a 4 hour screening event in rural Georgia

World Sight Day Screening – We partnered with a local Lions Club in Cordele, a rural part of Georgia with limited access to healthcare, to hold a screening event. We screened 200-300 people of which 50% had significant refractive error and were able to select frames and have glasses made by one of our partners Lions Lighthouse. We also had a fundus camera which allowed us to screen participants for glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It was a wonderful event that was very graciously received by the local population. Additionally, each Georgia 2020 member had tables educating the public on different blinding diseases.

Screening participants by using the Peek Acuity App

Refractions given on site from equip donated.






Using fundus photography we were able to screen all those at risk for glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

With Georgia 2020 partner, Lions Lighthouse, participants with refractive error were able to select frames and glasses will be made with their refraction and mailed to the participant at no cost.






World Sight Day Speaking Event – With a generous donation by Allergan we were able to bring world renowned actor/singer/activist Tom Sullivan to speak. Mr. Sullivan was born premature and has been blind since infancy due to retinopathy of prematurity. However, this has not stopped him from having an extremely successful career as an actor and singer. He spoke to a group of over 70 participants on “Turning Disability into Ability” as well as ways we s eye care providers and activists can improve eye care through our research, clinics and outreaches. He was incredibly inspiring and impacted all those in attendance.

Speaking event with Tom Sullivan

Georgia 2020 Members: Emory Eye Center, Prevent Blindness Georgia, Center for the Visually Impaired, Lions Lighthouse, Atlanta Lions Club, Georgia Society of Ophthalmology, Georgia Optometric Association, Georgia Eye Bank, Alcon, Emory School of Medicine Ophthalmology Interest Group

Jacquelyn O’Banion, MSc Public Health for Eye Care Alumna 2014/15

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Global Mental Health Alumni Jamboree 2018

Written by Oda Karlsen, MSc Global Mental Health student

Friday 26th October current MSc students, alumni and staff gathered for the annual Global Mental Health Jamboree at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The Rose Room was crowded with cheerful people, enjoying refreshments, nibbles and Global Mental Health bingo.

The 2018/2019 MSc cohort had been looking forward to getting the chance to gain some valuable insight into modules, summer project ideas and PhD application processes from the alumni. One of the current MSc students, Teodora Popnikolova, said ‘’It was a great opportunity to meet MSc GMH graduates, and encouraging to hear how many of them continue in this sector to work to improve mental health in their communities and further afield’’.

It was a great opportunity for exchange of thoughts, ideas and experiences. Another student from the 2018/2019 cohort, Mim Etter, commented that ‘’ It was a great opportunity to network with current students and lecturers, and discuss experience ask questions freely, and the fact that it was done in the beginning of the first semester definitely contributes to feeling supported and as a part of a community’’.

More than that, it seemed that the alumni were happy to see each other and reconnect with former classmates in an informal setting.

From the interactive and engaging conversations taking place between the current cohort and alumni, and the light-hearted atmosphere, it seemed a very successful event.

Thank you to the Alumni Office for sponsoring the event, and to staff and students at LSHTM for organising.

You can view the photos from the Global Mental Health Alumni Jamboree 2018 on the Alumni Flickr Page.