Eye Health Hero: Dr Abdallah Uwihoreye

Dr Abdallah UwihoreyeDr Abdallah is a dedicated public health specialist and a leader in eye care in Rwanda who has been working in the eye health domain for over ten years. He has worked tirelessly for “available, accessible and affordable” eye care services everywhere and for everyone throughout his home nation of Rwanda as Rwanda Country Director for the UK charity, Vision for a Nation Foundation (VFAN). One of the central innovations of the foundation is a three-day training curriculum developed by Prof. Ciku Mathenge.

Eye Health Hero 2018 logoIn 2016, as the foundation’s Country Director in Rwanda, Abdallah successfully led his team of eye care professionals through an unprecedented “Nationwide Community Outreach Programme” in all villages of Rwanda nearly 15,000 in collaboration with the Rwanda`s Ministry of Health. This built upon its earlier work in establishing eye care competency and capacity at each of the nation’s 500+ local health centers. As a result, nearly 2.5 million Rwandans were professionally screened for eye/vision problems in less than three years, with more than 1.3 million receiving medication, 200,000 receiving glasses, and an additional 200,000 having been referred to the next level specialists for more specific treatment. As such, his efforts have been recognized not only by the foundation’s Board of Trustees, but additionally by some of Britain`s most highly coveted awards programmes, including nation’s 2016 Charity Award in the category of “International Aid and Development” and the 2017 Bond International Innovation Award for VFAN’s outstanding work for “Innovation and Sustainable Primary Eye Care for Rwanda”. This success points to the potential for adding to Africa’s upward growth and prosperity trajectory by providing its people access to affordable and appropriate eye care. Rwanda demonstrates that it is possible; others now have the opportunity to follow.

Nominating Organisation: Vision for a Nation

“I began struggling with my sight when I was just twelve years old. Basic, everyday tasks and schoolwork suddenly became difficult for me. Fortunately, I grew up in a family with the means to purchase a pair of glasses and close enough to a major city to seek the help I needed. But most people in Africa aren’t so lucky. Over 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa – over 60% of its total population — live in rural areas that lack professional eye care.. The nation of Rwanda – my home country – decided it had to aggressively address this issue, and is now a shining example of how one of the world’s most pervasive non-communicable diseases can be successfully addressed. I am very pleased to see, and to have been a part of, a nationwide programme that has significantly improved the lives of millions of people, their families, and their employers via Primary Eye Care at the community level.”