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Senior Optometry lecturer and Academic Leader for Teaching and Learning at UKZN Dr Diane van Staden made a keynote presentation at a Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) meeting in which she called for improved access to care for persons with visual impairment.
The CCB works to improve the lives of people who are Blind, Deaf-Blind (dual sensory loss) or have poor vision, focusing on eye care, technology support, health and fitness, education, advocacy and accessibility.
Vision impairment presents a significant public health problem in both developed and developing countries. While the attention of the world has largely been on poorer countries in an effort to improve access to eye care services, the reality is that eye health inequities exist even in prosperous countries.
Van Staden has contributed to eye health policy development and optometry training all over the world, holding various leadership positions in academia and within the global eye health sector for the past 15 years.
‘As a mid-career professional from South Africa, being invited to give a keynote address for an organisation in a 1st World Country was a big deal! I think the invitation is testament to the work I have done and contributions I have made over the past 10 to 15 years to eye health advocacy globally,’ said van Staden.
Thriving as an active researcher in her field and authoring several key publications calling for improved eye health services worldwide, she is also currently a visiting Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Canada, collaborating with the Faculty on Health Equity-Related Research Projects.
Words: Mandisa Shozi