Optometry Students visit Universidade Lúrio, Nampula, Mozambique for a unique learning and teaching experience

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DIT and UniLúrio Optometry Students, Elaine O’Donoghue FAOI and Aoife Phelan FAOI in a newly furbished Optometry PreClinical Room, UniLúrio, Nampula, Mozambique

6th April 2011

Dublin Institute of Technology Optometry Students Clíodhna Flannery, Claire Judge, Fiona Murphy and Orla Murphy visited Mozambique from 1st to 15th March 2011 to participate in the Mozambique Eyecare Project*.

The students travelled to Universidade Lúrio (UniLúrio), Nampula, Mozambique with Dr James Loughman and Aoife Phelan, DIT and Elaine O’Donoghue, recent DIT graduate.

The team from Ireland were welcomed by the students and staff of Universidade Lúrio in a ceremony which included traditional Mozambican Dance, A Portuguese Poem about Optometry and Seanós singing.

The DIT and UniLúrio students took part in a vision screening campaign in local primary schools around Nampula. The purpose of the screening campaign was to give spectacles to children with uncorrected refractive error, and to create a unique learning and teaching experience for both groups of students. “The UniLurio students were bright and enthusiastic and this transferred to us, the experience has really given us an appreciation for our skill and the differences we can make.”Fiona Murphy

The Irish Ambassador to Mozambique, His Excellency, Ruairí de Burca, visited the school screening campaign and met with the Irish Team. He was very impressed with the achievements of the project so far and offered his continued support in the future.

The DIT Optometry Students are grateful that they could help so many children and become mentors and friends of Mozambique’s first optometry students. “It was a life changing experience, watching people live their everyday lives in the poverty they have been subjected to, seeing them trying to build and develop the country and its economy, watching the students eagerness and motivation to learn and become something great. It was a real eye opener, truly inspirational for all involved! Orla Murphy

*The Mozambique Eyecare Project is an Irish Aid funded initiative, involving partners from Lúrio University in Mozambique and the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE), in collaboration with Dublin Institute of Technology and University of Ulster, which aims to address the problem of avoidable blindness in Mozambique, Lusophone Africa and across developing nations.

The Eyecare Project, with the help of the partners mentioned above, have established Mozambique’s first Optometry School in Universidade Lúrio, Nampula, Mozambique. Currently, there are 60 optometry students enrolled in the programme, and the initial student intake has just entered into Year Three of the four year degree programme. In addition, there are currently five postgraduate students investigating various aspects of the Project, with a further three students engaged in the registration process. The programme is being delivered by the three full time Faculty, with additional faculty being recruited based on programme needs.

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Elaine O’ Donoghue FAOI, Clíodhna Flannery, Orla Murphy and Claire Judge with school children who took part in the screening campaign, Nampula, Mozambique

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Fiona Murphy and Nelva Sixpene check a child’s vision.

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Orla Murphy checking pupil reaction of a young boy with the assistance of Momade Alige, Optometry Student, UniLúrio

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Back Row: Prof AbdulCarimo (UniLúrio), Prof. José Oscar Monteiro (Eduardo Mondlane University), Dr Iziine Hassane, His Excellency Ruairí de Burca (Irish Aid), Vice Chancellor Jorge Ferrão (UniLúrio), Mr Stephen Thompson(Project Manager), Ms Aoife Phelan (DIT)

Front Row: Prof. Doutor José Luis de Oliveira Cabaço (Technical University of Mozambique),Mary Wepo (ICEE), Kesi Naidoo (ICEE), Dr Jonas Chambule (Irish Aid), Dr James Loughman(DIT) Dr Luisa Simo (UniLúrio, formerly DIT)

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