Launch of Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, new born and Child Health in Lilongwe, Malawi

February 2017

Malawi and eight other countries committed to halving deaths among mothers and their new-born children in health facilities within the next five years.

These countries have formed a network which is supported by WHO, UNICEF and other partners. Including the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. This network was launched on 14-16th February in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Attendees of the event to launch the nine-country network to halve maternal and new born mortality

Dr Queen Dube, Clinical Head of Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at QECH, Blantyre and Dr Bernadette O’Hare, College of Medicine, deputy academic Head of Department attended the launch of this networking event on behalf of PACHA.

In Malawi, the Paediatric and Child Health Association (PACHA) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF have designed a course, called the COIN course and have trained 300 health workers from 24 facilities in order to move towards this goal. PACHA provides bi directional mentorship and has trained 32 pre service lecturers on this course with a view to introducing neonatal care into pre-service training.

Tanzanian Endemic Optic Neuropathy: new group

Dr Blaikie coordinated an inaugural meeting of the TEON Research Group. The meeting took place in March 2017 at the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London.

In attendance were;

Andrew Blaikie, Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, St Andrews

Martin Feelisch, Professor of Translational Evolutionary Biology, University of Southampton

Kerry Jones, Senior Lecturer, MRC Nutrition Unit, Cambridge

Gordon Plant, Neurologist, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery

Richard Bowman, Senior Lecturer, International Centre for Eye Health

Matthew Burton, Professor of ophthalmology, International Centre for Eye Health

Kazim Dhalla, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Richard Weller, Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh

The team decided on a program of implementation work on TEON for the next 5 years.

As part of the process of raising awareness of TEON Dr Blaikie presented the current pathological hypothesis of the disease at the National Neuro-ophthalmology Meeting in York in March.

Presentations at International Association of Prevention of Blindness

Rebecca Blundell, a University of Dundee International Health BMSc student presented her work on evaluation of the Arclight in Malawi at the International Association of Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) meeting in Durban. She attended the meeting along with her co-supervisor Dr Andrew Blaikie from the  University of St Andrews School of Medicine Global Heath Team.

The Arclight is a low cost solar powered ophthalmoscope and otoscope that offers health care workers the opportunity to diagnose conditions that may lead to blindness and deafness. The device has been developed through a collaboration with a number of organisations including the Fred Hollows Foundation, Arclight Medical, the IAPB and the School of Medicine, St Andrews.

Rebecca was awarded a 1st Class degree for her dissertation ‘A mixed-methods evaluation of a novel solar powered low cost ophthalmoscope (Arclight) by healthcare workers in Malawi using the Technology Acceptance Model’ and went on to win the Sir James MacKenzie Intercalated Bachelor of Medical Science First Prize.

The Arclight is available to purchase via the University of St Andrews online store.


Arclight – a medical revolution

A revolutionary pocket-sized device which could help save the sight of millions of people around the world has been launched by a team led from the University of St Andrews.

arclight-collagesArclight is a low-cost, solar-powered ophthalmoscope aimed at helping health workers in low-income countries detect signs of blindness. It can also be used as an otoscope to look into the ears and help prevent deafness. Designed specifically as an easy-to-use tool for out-reach or screening programs in low-income countries it enables users to make instant on-the-spot diagnostic decisions. A study led from the International Centre for Eye Health in London showed that it performs as well as traditional devices costing up to 100 times as much.

Few hospital-based doctors in poorer countries have these essential instruments and almost none at the mid or community level. Using the Arclight an examiner can see the front and back of the eye helping reveal all major blinding conditions such as trachoma, cataract, glaucoma and diabetes. It is ideal for students or any qualified health care worker in low or high resource health care settings. Continue reading