Mzuzu University optometry graduate Esther Solomon

Mzuzu University graduates report on experience as optometrists

Mzuzu, Malawi, 6 April 2018: A follow up of Malawi’s first optometry graduates has yielded important insights about the newly established optometry degree program at Mzuzu University.

Over 50% of Malawians are living below the poverty line and there is a scarcity of affordable eye care and the optometry degree program was established in 2008 by a partnership of local, national and international agencies to develop practitioners to provide specialized and sustainable optometric services to people living in underserved urban and remote rural communities.

With a group of four-year optometry degree students successfully graduating from Mzuzu University in Malawi and entering clinical practice, and no validated method of evaluation existing, the researchers from Brien Holden Vision Institute developed a research tool it hopes can ultimately be employed in a variety of settings.

Incorporating elements of other scientifically validated and reliable studies, models and instruments, including the World Health Organisation’s conceptual framework for human resources for health, the research tool assessed things like preparedness for practice, clinical competency and workplace support for new graduates.

The evaluation revealed self-ratings of the Malawi graduates on preparedness for clinical practice that was very similar to those reported by Australian optometry degree graduates. The Malawi practitioners also self-rated their clinical competency as adequate.

The first of a three phase study is summarised in ‘Report on Phase 1 Malawi Optometry Human Resource Development Study’.

To view an executive summary click on ‘Exec summary Phase 1 study Malawi’ at the foot of this article.

For further information about this study please contact Karen Paarz through our ‘Contact Us’ form here.


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Brien Holden Foundation acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal custodians of the many lands that we live and work on, and their continuing connection to Country and culture.

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