Why a Harrogate hospital worker travelled to Zambia for charity

A Senior Optometrist at Harrogate Hospital is taking part in the inaugural Optometry Conference in Zambia, organised by national charity Vision Aid Overseas (VA0).
Caroline Clarke taking part in Vision Aid Overseas work (s)Caroline Clarke taking part in Vision Aid Overseas work (s)
Caroline Clarke taking part in Vision Aid Overseas work (s)

Caroline Clarke, who has been involved with VAO for the past 10 years, will take part in the conference aimed to provide continuous education and training to qualified eye care professionals.

The conference, which began on Monday, will support graduates of the three year Optometry Technology Diploma which the charity helped to develop and fund.

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The conference will be Ms Clarke’s 20th assignment with the charity which has already been teaching refraction and optometry nurses, opthalmic nurses and ophthalmic clinical officers in Zambia since 2006.

Ms Clarke said: “Among other places I have visited with the charity are Uganda, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. It has given me a different outlook on life and makes me eternally grateful that we have an NHS here.

“It is always a pleasure and a privilege to be part of a volunteer team and I’m looking forward to participating in the inaugural conference being held in Lusaka.”

VAO set up a clinical teaching support programme in May 2012 to provide practical support and clinical supervision to undergraduates at The Chainama College of Health Sciences in Lusaka.

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The first students from the programme graduated in August 2013 and the conference will help to support their training and professional development in their careers as eye care health professionals.

The conference consists of formal lectures and interactive discussions followed by a series of refraction master classes and workshops.

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