Minister for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today opened ‘A Celebration of Vision’ at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) to mark the achievements of the Mozambique Eye-care Project.
Established with €1.5 million in Irish Aid funding, the project includes a training programme for optometrists and an eye-care service in Mozambique, both of which are designed to reduce preventable blindness and tackle poverty. It is run by the Dublin Institute of Technology and the University of Ulster, in close collaboration with universities in Mozambique and South Africa.
Preventable blindness is a major contributor to poverty in the developing world and those affected are far less likely to access education or employment, said Minister Sherlock, who described the Mozambique Eye-care Project as a sustainable solution to avoidable blindness.
“In just over five years, 15 optometrists have graduated through the Mozambique Eye Care Project, doubling the number of eye care personnel serving the entire country. Between 20 and 30 new optometrists will graduate in Mozambique annually, making this programme both effective and truly sustainable.
“Their ambitious plan to have a university faculty team in Mozambique and 170 fully-qualified optometrists to deliver education, eye-care and glasses to millions of visually impaired people in Mozambique by 2020 is truly commendable.
“Blindness, visual impairment, and the lack of eye-care services are too often the result of social, economic and developmental challenges. The Mozambique Eye-care Project stands out as an initiative which can break this chain. I congratulate DIT and all of the partners in Mozambique on the success of the project.”
25 September 2014
Notes for the Editor:
• Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie
• The Mozambique Eye-care Project involves partners from the Optometry Departments at Dublin Institute of Technology and University of Ulster in Ireland, in collaboration with Lúrio University in Mozambique and the Brien Holden Vision Institute.
• The Mozambique Eye-care Project is funded under Ireland’s Programme of Strategic Cooperation. Funding of €1.5 million was provided in 2008 to establish the programme.
• Mozambique is one of the Key Partner Countries for Ireland’s aid programme.
• The Programme of Strategic Cooperation (PSC) was launched in 2006 with the aim of providing funding for universities and third-level colleges in Ireland to develop collaborative partnerships with higher education institutions in countries supported by Irish Aid. The programme supports development research and teaching and learning.
• Since 2006, €17 million has been allocated to fifteen projects with the involvement of 20 institutions in Ireland and over 40 institutions across Ireland’s Key Partner Countries. http://www.hea.ie/en/funding/research-funding/programme-strategic-cooperation