In an earlier post I described the Health Forum organised by the Scotland Malawi Partnership on 23 October 2018 and held in Edinburgh City Chambers. One of the delegates present was Dr Karen L. Paarz who has been heavily involved in developing optometry training in Malawi. Karen recognised many parallels between the optometry project on which she has been engaged and the MalDent Project. Very kindly, Karen agreed to come across to Glasgow Dental School to speak with me and we finally met on 23rd January 2019. Karen was accompanied by her husband, William Elliott, who had supported the work to establish optometry training in Malawi.
Karen’s work has been undertaken under the auspices of the Brien Holden Vision Institute (https://www.brienholdenvision.org), an Australian not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation which is dedicated to eye care research and enhancing delivery of eye care.
Karen has been the Principal Investigator on the ‘Malawi Optometry Human Resource Development Study’, the Executive summary of which can be accessed at: https://brienholdenvision.org/news/item/140-mzuzu-university-graduates-report-on-experience-as-optometrists.html
Karen’s description of her work in Malawi held many lessons for us as we move forward with the MalDent Project. We look forward to continuing interaction and I am grateful for access to Karen’s experience and advice following her extensive involvement in developing both training and clinical service in optometry within Malawi.