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Vision Excellence Awards: Geoffrey Wabulembo

Dr. Geoffrey Wabulembo

Dr. Geoffrey Wabulembo : A relentless commitment to progressing eye care and serving the most underprivileged.

When Geoffrey Wabulembo was a general doctor in missionary hospitals around Kampala, the demand for quality eye care and the beauty of this discipline became clear: not only was he enjoying the art of neat and precise surgery but he also discovered the unmet need of eye care services. He decided to become an ophthalmologist. Since then, Geoffrey has not stopped working to progress the development of services for those most in need and least ableto get it.

In September 1999, Geoffrey attended the launch of the joint WHO and IAPB Vision2020 in Beijing: The Right to Sight, as a member of the Ugandan delegation. Around this time he also realised that no matter how hard he worked, he would not be able to achieve his aspirations alone. Fully convinced by the spirit of Vision2020, which supported his own experience from the field, he played a key role in ensuring that the Ugandan Ministry of Health subscribed to it.

The logical conclusion for Geoffrey was to go outside the comfortable, bigger cities, to collaborate with all stakeholders, build eye departments, train more professionals and develop community eye health in harder to reach locations. This effort led to reaching 2.4 Mio people in Eastern Uganda with a network of trained primary eye care workers. Meanwhile, quality was a concern to Geoffrey and he eagerly contributed to the transition from routine intracapsular cataract extraction (ICCE) to surgery with intraocular lens implants in Uganda.

Not stopping there, Geoffrey aimed to make children benefit more from quality eye care services, as he realised that this was still a neglected area of care. With the support of CBM and Light For the World he could specialise in pediatric ophthalmology.

As chief ophthalmologist in Uganda, Geoffrey continued in his very humble and collaborative way to reach those who need it the most by advocating for more funded positions of ophthalmologists in the country.

In collaboration with international agencies he also pursued his mission in other resource constrained areas in the world. His journey even went as far as Papua New Guinea where he, supported by CBM, RANZCO and UNICEF successfully developed a structured training programme for ophthalmologists and pioneered a screening programme for retinopathy of prematurity.

Today, Dr. Geoffrey Wabulembo is a global eye health expert and senior ophthalmologist with extensive experience in pediatric ophthalmology, clinical case management, human resource development, community eye health and strategic planning and evaluation. In recognition of his excellent results, he has received fellowships from eye health organisations including CBM, Light for the World and the College of Ophthalmologists, East Central and Southern Africa (COECSA). At Light for the World, we are proud to have Geoffrey as our colleague and to jointly continue realising his dream for Vision2020 and the Global Action plan in the era of the World Report on Vision: To make avoidable blindness an issue of the past and to contribute to eye health for all!