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Project Officer Stella Jane works at PCEA Kikuyu Hospital in Kenya. She has 5 years’ experience in coordinating eye health projects. Her driving force is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, especially in the areas of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. Stella has been ardent in making eye care services more accessible and affordable for the vulnerable. This is now possible through the coordination of outreaches and surgical interventions to improve the quality of life of eye patients.
She has targeted local and national media to help disseminate the importance of disability inclusion, and her dogged advocacy has meant that many people who were previously excluded from eye care programmes, are now included. She has overseen the rebranding of the hospital’s website so that it is now more accessible for those with disabilities. She brings about positive change by celebrating and commemorating developments in eye health in the hospital and ensuring that patients are present at these events. It is due largely to her efforts that the hospital has taken on a leadership position with our collaborators and partners.
Working hand in hand with the training department, Stella has jump-started low vision training at primary level by engaging the eye health technical team in developing the curriculum. This program is the first of its kind in Kenya, and is part of the longer-term plan for creating sustainability by building the capacity of eye health professionals and increasing access to services.
Stella is keen to develop other strategies for improving eye care including engaging with the accreditation process which led to the hospital gaining the status of a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for its Pediatric and Vitro Retinal Training. She has shown commendable dedication and drive in leading management activities for the improvement of the quality of eye care services, and has been very engaged in the development and review of various programmes related to operating procedures and care delivery guidelines.
In 2020, a little girl called Brianna was identified by CBM through social media, and referred to PCEA Kikuyu Hospital. It was Stella’s determination to get treatment for this child that resulted in Brianna receiving the appropriate care for her eye condition and having her sight restored. This small example sums up Stella’s championing of those who are often left behind. In all that she does her ambition and determination to bring about positive change and to improve eye care services are clear and it is for this reason that we would like to nominate her in the category of ‘Change Maker.’
“I love my job because it gives me an opportunity to link people with life-changing experiences in eye care. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than walking a patient through a journey from a state of desperation to one of hope. I am a firm believer in inclusion and that people with disabilities should have good quality eye services. I’m glad that I have worked hard for the realization of this, while the hospital gives me a platform to bring it about. I feel that what I do is worthwhile and leaves an indelible impact on peoples’ lives. The three words I would use to describe my job are… fulfilling, life-changing and eye-opening.”
– Stella Waithera Jane