AVRI Postgraduate Students Reviews and Capacity Building Workshop


Twenty post-graduate ophthalmology and optometry students from around Africa gathered from 29 July-01 August 2014 to review and debate the research topics that form the basis of their post-graduate qualifications, and which will eventually lead the way in changing eye health practices on the African continent.


The Ghanaian, Ugandan, Malawian, Nigerian, South African, Sudanese and Cameroonian students, many of whom are eye health faculty in tertiary education institutions, formed part of the post-graduate student cohort at the African Vision Research Institute (AVRI) - funded by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sight Savers, Fred Hollows Foundation and Vision CRC.


AVRI provides holistic support to postgraduate students; support which not only develops the students individually, but also develops the human resources in their countries of origin. The Review Week sessions formed part of this support as the students were given further direction and guidance from a panel of research experts on how to proceed with their research and overcome any challenges they may be experiencing.


The postgraduate research reviews were attended by a panel of 11 researchers from AVRI, the Brien Holden Vision Institute and academics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). The panel members included the following researchers and academics:

1. Prof Urmilla Bob, Research Dean at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)

2. Professor Sabiha Essack, the Dean of Health Sciences (UKZN)

3. Dr Shenuka Singh (UKZN)

4. Stephanie Looi (Brien Holden Vision Institute)

5. Professor Padmaja Sankaridurg (Brien Holden Vision Institute)

6. Professor Kovin Naidoo (AVRI, Brien Holden Vision Institute)

7. Professor Peter Clarke-Farr (AVRI)

8. Mr Percy Mashige (AVRI)

9. Dr Jyoti Jaggernath (AVRI)

10. Mr VingFai Chan (Brien Holden Vision Institute)

11.  Mr Farai Chinanayi (AVRI, Brien Holden Vision Institute)


Postgraduate student presentations included:


Masters Students:

1. Kenneth Adjah: Compliance among Glaucoma patients in Ghana

2. Prasidh Ramson: Recruitment and retention of Optometrists in the Public Sector in South Africa

3. Clement Afari: Contribution of refractive errors to visual impairment in Ashanti region, Ghana

4. Zaheera Abdool: Development and evaluation of a team approach to preventing, detecting and referring Diabetic Retinopathy in a District Health System

5. France Khumalo: Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices of refractive error by school going children of the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu  areas in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

6. Percy Ampeh: Knowledge and barriers to the use of the white cane in the Ashanti region

7. Virginia Mawela: Knowledge, attitudes and practices of the eye care referral protocol for diabetic patients among PHC nurses in JHB/Metro  Health district clinics

8. Faith Chabedi: The prevalence of below standard visual acuity amongst Alberton Drivers

9. Dinesh Kaple: Impact of visual impairment due to refractive error on the Qaulity of Life of Adults in Lilongwe, Malawi

10. Sylvester Kyeremeh: Low vision services in Ghana: Availability and accessibility

11. Elizabeth Akpali: Visual impairment among primary school children in the Berekum Municipal, Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana.

PhD Students:

1. Bernadine Ekpenyong: Assessment of eye health status of school age children in Cross River State , Nigeria

2. Saif Alrasheed: Prevalence of visual impairment and development of a child eye care plan in South Darfur State of Sudan

3. Emilienne Epee: Impact of refractive error on school children

4. Samuel Kusi: Ocular health and Safety Assessment of Cocoa Farmers in Ghana

5. Godfrey WabuLembo: Developing a human resource strategy for Uganda for Eye Health

6. Veli Sukati: Refractive error and visual impairment in school children in Swaziland

7. Christopher Onunkwor: Cost effectiveness of screening for diabetic retinopathy

8. Dorcas Waidim: An assessment of traditional eye care practices and the development of a Health Promotion Strategy in Boyo Division of the North West Region of Cameroon

9. Anne Ebri: Effectiveness of health education interventions on spectacle utilization in school children aged 10 -15 years in Nigeria: A randomized study
































 All students were subjected to a one-on-one review session with the research supervisor panel and were provided with detailed comments and audio recording of the session.