Patricia Mulenga is a nurse working at Kitwe Central Hospital in Zambia. She received training from the Frimley-Kitwe Partnership which is developing specialist eye care services in northern Zambia. As a result of the training provided by the partnership, Patricia has improved her knowledge of diabetic retinopathy (DR), diabetes, and management of the condition. ‘I knew about DR but I learned about 90% through my training with the project. I learned to do injections into the eye and a great deal of new things. I knew general ophthalmology, but now I know so much in more detail.’
Patricia has visited the UK for further training and is struck by the difference between hospitals. ‘There are many more staff, fewer patients and so much equipment. Nurses and doctors are working together and patients aren’t fighting to get in.’
Other members of Patricia’s team have been trained by the partnership and there is evidence of the team improving their skills, with the added motivation that comes from UK visits. ‘Sometimes I find them doing things independently; they never used to do this. Their grading skills have improved, they work hard and don’t relax; I don’t need to push them’, says Patricia.