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Primary Eye Care (PEC) Training in Zimbabwe: A component that has been missing in the Primary Health Care System in Zimbabwe!
With funding from Sight Savers, Helpage Zimbabwe in partnership with Ministry of Health and Child Care is coordinating the training of nurses on Primary Eye Care (PEC). The training has so far been done in two provinces of Midlands and Matabeleland South. In Midlands, the training was carried out in Chirumhanzou and Mberengwa Districts. The District Nursing Officer for Chirumhanzou, Mr Jotam Chinyama was very passionate about PEC training. He committed the District to have quarterly meetings to review progress on PEC in the District. He implored nurses in the District to take eye issues seriously. He said this is the first training focusing on the different eye conditions and that Chirumhanzu District is blessed since this training is build- on from the Village Health Workers training that took place in 2015 in the District. Nurses also appreciated the training as Madhimba Lyton from Holly Cross Clinic remarked “this is the first of its kind, yes we did eyes during Nurse training but, it wasn’t as deep, relevant and meaningful as this, we leant eyes in order to pass but this time around, its meant for effective eye management, I work in the OPD (out -patient Department), this training has enhanced my work”
Chirumhanzu District Nursing Officer (in white, holding a piece of paper) posing for a photo with Nurses from all the Health Centres in the District after receiving PEC training.
In Beitbridge, the District Medical Officer attended the training through- out the two day training, he thanked Sight savers for providing the financial resources for PEC training and appealed for more resources to train even doctors, he further remarked that “…people make assumptions that doctors know everything, no, we need this training”.
District Medical Officer for Beitbridge, Dr. T. Kanongara (in Blue T shirt and glasses)
In Mberengwa, the nurse tutor retorted, “don’t consider us in your logistical arrangements, we will just come, sit and learn, this is critical for us as we interact with student nurses”
Opthalmic Nurse, Sr Butsa demonstrating the snellen’s chart to PEC participants in Mberengwa
In Matobo District, Nomusa Moyo, a nurse from Ekukhanyeni Clinic invited HelpAge Zimbabwe to come and have a talk on eyes, even to the community, she has had interactions with HelpAge Zimbabwe projects in the past, she appreciated the training and many older persons presented with eyes condition she could not effectively attend to.
Conclusively, the PEC training is filling a gap there that has been existing for far too long and many nurses wished this training can be scaled up to cover the whole country as it is with other programs such as the expanded program of Immunisation(EPI), Male circumcision among other programs.
Nurses in Matobo District pose for a photo after receiving PEC Training