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Vision Excellence Awards: Upendo Mwakabalile

Dr Upendo Mwakabalile

Based in Singida Region, working as cataract surgeon Dr Upendo Mwakabalile is the Regional Eye Coordinator and a dedicated cataract surgeon who provides eye health services to the region. Trained as Assistant Medical Officer in Opthalmology and a cataract surgeon, Dr. Upendo spends most of her time saving people from avoidable blindness through performing cataract surgeries to all who need the surgery regardless of their ability to pay. Even though she said “People should contribute to pay for eye care services so as to allow sustainability of eye care services in the region. If people will depend on free of charge eye services because of financial support from the eye health projects when the projects reaches an end it will be difficult for them to contribute for eye services because the government does not support free of charge eye care services to the people”.

For the last 8 years, Dr. Upendo, continues to work hard to gain experience in the eye department in the regional referral hospital. Her professional approach helps in smooth implementation of eye care services in the region and work with international organizations such as Sightsavers, Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology and Helen Keller International, who continue to work in the region to promote eye care services. Her focus is always to provide eye care services in the remote community of Singida region. She always finds the opportunity to take surgical outreaches to the most remote areas, to ensure people who cannot afford to pay for transportation to reach health facilities can access the needed quality eye care services.

She spares her free time to work with project officers to ensure smooth implementation of eye care services in the region. She considers gender inequality a global pandemic to some areas of Singida region during outreach services. She said “when patients realise a surgeon is a woman they get afraid to under go the surgery, they wait until they see those who come out of the surgery successfully, then they end up accepting me to perform surgery on them. This makes her to continue to work so hard to prove to the community women are equal to men.