The University of Guyana graduated its first batch of Optometry Degree students at its
Turkeyen Campus’ 48th Convocation ceremony last Saturday. The programme is one that represents collaboration between the Caribbean Council for the Blind, Eye Care Guyana, the Ministry of Health, SightSavers and the University of Guyana.
And so as a Region-wide programme, students from Guyana, Dominica, Jamaica, St Lucia and Haiti were accepted to undertake the programme. A total of 104 students have been accepted to the programme to date, with the first batch of 22 students graduating on Saturday last.
Among the graduates are: Andrew Adams, Luciean Aaliyah Andrews, Sheneeza Khan-Ishmael, Kemol Roshan, Romeo Anthony Singh, all of whom passed with distinction. Those who passed with credit are: Khohane Medecia Blake, Stephanie Laurel Jean Jacques, Imran Khan, Marlynn Kimbally Lendor, Damali Alyssa Lovell, Antonio Amedia Mc Curchin, Nankumarie Persaud, Mahendra Prashad, Fionna Aretha Todd, Shenella Natasha Harvey.
Included in the graduating batch too were: Jonelle Monifa Afiya Duke, Stafon Leon Dundas, Juewan Marliza Murray, Madonna Narine, Keshi Kelsia Pyle, Gordon Eustace Marshall and Eliza Priya Shiwprasad.
The inaugural batch is being viewed as part of a pioneering effort to increase the number of eye health service providers in the Region which is being supported by the European Union.
Moreover, on Friday November 7, 2014, one day ahead of graduation, Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Guyana, Ambassador Robert Kopecký, met with three of the graduates.
According to a statement issued Wednesday, the European Union is supporting the degree programme as a component of the ‘regional Delivering V2020 in the Caribbean project’, for which the European Union is providing EUR 4M over five years. This project aims to reduce the prevalence of blindness and visual impairment amongst rural and poor populations in the Caribbean.
The European Union has supported scholarships for nine of the initial graduates as well as general support to the degree programme as a whole.
For one graduate, Ms Khohane Blake from rural Jamaica, this is a particularly proud moment. Blake’s mother was blind and overcame many challenges to ensure that she received a good start in life, including a good education. The efforts of her mother ensured that Blake was able to take up the opportunity of a one-year Refractionist Techniques course at the University of Guyana before continuing with the four-year Optometry programme which she has completed successfully, preparing her for her career goal.
Blake’s aim is to help others who are visually impaired, and thanks to the support of the European Union, she has now graduated and will be able to provide eye health services to rural populations in Jamaica.
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