Arclight in Rwanda

Laura Bates
Wednesday 12 September 2018
Arclight and a traditional ophthalmoscope

The Global Health Team from the School of Medicine recently completed a national eye care training and distribution exercise in Rwanda utilizing the Arclight solar powered ophthalmoscope. The team, led by Dr Andrew Blaikie (Senior Lecturer and Consultant Ophthalmologist), delivered the training in collaboration with the Rwandan Ophthalmic Clinical Officers & Cataract Surgeons Society. The University of St Andrews KE & Impact fund and the Gelsenkirchen Rotary Club of Germany funded the initiative.

The Arclight is a low-cost solar-powered direct ophthalmoscope developed by William J. Williams, an optometrist and Honorary Research Fellow in the Global Health Team. The latest Mk 3 version of the device was distributed and along with new simulation training eyes marked a double first for the Arclight team and Rwandan eye care.

Arclight tandem expeditions – In October 2018, Alex McMaster and Merlin Hetherington set out from Cairo to ride a tandem bike to Capetown. The 10,000km journey would pass through 10 countries, where the two had arranged to provide training and devices for health-care workers in a variety of settings.

Arclight SIM eyes

All 130 of the clinical officers in Rwanda received an Arclight device and vision-testing tools along with a training package delivered in the five main regions of the country. Six Rwandan clinical officers attended a ‘training the trainers’ session on day one. The newly trained trainers then successfully led the education programme while being supported by the Global Health Arclight Team.

Trained Arclight Rwandan trainers

We anticipate the initiative to impact positively on eye care in the country as the ophthalmic clinical officers serve the entire population of the 12 million people living in Rwanda and perform over 500,000 consultations per year.

The team also met a number of leaders in health and eye care in Rwanda including the Assistant Minister of Health, the Vice Principal of the University of Rwanda, the country director for ‘Vision for a Nation’, the Dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences, the Vice-President of the College of Ophthalmologists and the lead for the Rwandan International Institute of Ophthalmology.

Based on the success of this initiative, future training and distribution exercises are being planned in Rwanda in collaboration with the School of Medicine and the College of Allied Health Sciences.

For information on the research associated with the project click here.

Arclight in Rwanda from School of Medicine on Vimeo.

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