IMPROVING OPHTHALMOLOGY SUB-SPECIALTY CLINICAL SKILLS
Many low and middle income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa have limited opportunities for sub-specialty training required to deliver quality comprehensive eye services to the population.
The Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium (CEHC) works through a network of leading training institutions to deliver a programme of ophthalmology sub-specialty clinical training. Through the enhancement of sub-specialty knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality eye care, CEHC fellows are able to contribute more effectively to improving eye health for the population in their own countries.
The Consortium’s clinical fellowships programme offers both long-term (one-year) fellowships and short-term (three-month) attachments to ophthalmologists from low and middle-income Commonwealth countries. Subspecialties include vitreoretinal surgery, oculoplastics, paediatric ophthalmology, glaucoma, cornea and external disease, medical retina, uveitis and low vision/refraction.
Over the past 5 years we have set up a network of 15 Host Institutions in 9 Commonwealth countries in conjunction with our partners (West African College of Surgeons, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, College of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa , Royal College of Ophthalmologists, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the VISION 2020 LINKS Programme).
So far we have selected and appointed 141 fellows from 19 Commonwealth countries. 40% of fellowships have been awarded to women. We have also coordinated clinical attachments in microbiology, oncology, equipment maintenance, eye banking, pathology, prosthetics, fluorescein angiography and ultrasound in addition to ‘low vision’ fellowships and have introduced ‘Team Training’. We have introduced a mentoring scheme and capacity building initiative to facilitate in country fellowships within SSA. The great majority of feedback has shown that the learning has been relevant or extremely relevant for returning fellows.