Dr. Grace Chipalo Mutati has been an unparalleled leader of eye health training efforts in Zambia, and her contribution to the Vision 2020 global initiative to combat avoidable blindness in Zambia has been immeasurable.
Dr. Mutati has been instrumental in growing the field of ophthalmology in her area from a small surgery department at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH, the largest teaching hospital in Zambia) to a full-fledged eye hospital under the UTH umbrella of five hospitals. She now heads the newly established UTH Eye Hospital as a Senior Medical Superintendent, an esteemed position she has earned through her education, commitment, vision innovation and drive to do what she loves the most – providing quality eye services to all, without leaving anyone behind.
After graduating from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with an MSc in Community Eye, Dr. Mutati was one of the 18 qualified ophthalmologists to serve a population of 15 million in Zambia. Most trained people in her field opted to either go into the private sector or abroad where money was readily available, but Dr. Mutati’s ideals led her to return to the government to contribute to the Vision 2020 global initiative.
By sourcing support from cooperating partners, she initiated the building of the first phase of the eye department at UTH and supported its growth to become UTH Eye Hospital, a centre of excellence for eye care. She had the centre moved to a location closer to public transport, enabling access for people who did not have their own mode of transport.
In her efforts to increase the numbers of eye health experts in Zambia, Dr. Mutati spearheaded the development of a master’s training programme in ophthalmology through UTH Eye Hospital, enrolling both local and international students in the program, and allowing Zambia to start training ophthalmologists in 2011 for the very first time. She was able to expand UTH Eye Hospital to attract specialized ophthalmologists to head an anterior segment department, a pediatric clinic, a glaucoma clinic, a retina clinic, and an oculoplastic clinic.
In addition to the impressive accomplishments Dr. Mutati has achieved in her career, she has a wonderful family. She is a mother of three children and she is married to an influential Zambian politician, Honorable Felix Mutati. He is currently a leader for an opposition party in the country.
Dr. Mutati commands a lot of respect in the field of eye health, as she was involved in the training of most of the professionals holding administrative offices in Zambia during their M.D. training. She has had many options available to her in her field, but Dr. Mutati’s passion has remained her contribution to Vision 2020. Throughout her entire career, she has worked toward the elimination of avoidable blindness for all citizens of Zambia, regardless of their gender, race, tribe, political affiliation, financial status or age.