PRESS RELEASE CONCERNING VISION AID OVERSEAS June 12th 2006
Vision Aid Overseas (VAO), a charity based in the UK has visited Malawi for the 18th time
to provide eye tests and spectacles in hospitals and health centres.
The team of four optometrists and two dispensers travelled over 2000kms visiting towns as far
spread as Nsanje, Mulanje, Mangochi and Mwanza. Clinics have previously also been held in
the Central and Northern districts.
Mr Khonje, Ophthalmic Medical Assistant, from MACOHA optical workshop at
Queen's Hospital, Blantyre, joined this team; he received further specialised training
and equipment from VAO.
Ruth Davies, Project Leader, who is on her fifth visit to Malawi, said "We held ten clinics
in two weeks and are delighted that we have been able to help so many people with sight problems.
We have seen over 1,400 patients and provided more than 1,260 spectacles.
I know we have really made a difference."
The British High Commissioner, Richard Wildash and his wife, Jane, invited the team to his
Residence before their departure to the UK. They were moved by the personal stories that they
heard from team members.
Particularly memorable were two university students, both with little vision, who were tested and
given spectacles which will make their daily lives in and around the University much easier.
Dispensing Optician, Susan Metwali, said "It is miraculous that I am able to find spectacles even for
people with the most serious problems. These students are Braille users but can now see large print."
24 year old student, "Herbert" (not his real name) looked forward to getting about more easily and
VAO team members are volunteers who contribute to the cost of their visit and take time off from
their professional jobs in the UK. The spectacles supplies have been donated by members
of the British public.
Mr Wildash, who took up his appointment in February, has offered the Commission's support to
future VAO projects.