Countess_in cream dress being briefed on eye technology at an earlier function in UK

On the occasion of Commonwealth Week, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex GCVO, as Vice Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, will next week visit Malawi to see the Trust’s work to end avoidable blindness and champion young leaders.

During her time in Malawi, the Royal envoy will travel to Kasungu district where she will see the activities that are underway and are part of the Trust’s initiative with the Malawi Ministry of Health, and the International Coalition for Trachoma Control that work to eliminate blinding trachoma.

The Royal visit comes at an important time in Malawi as it reaches an historic milestone in its fight against blinding trachoma; from now on no one in Malawi need lose their sight from this ancient, painful infectious eye disease. Malawi is on track to meet by 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) criteria where trachoma is no longer a public health problem and verification of elimination by 2020.

The Royal victor will also visit Lilongwe’s Kamuzu Hospital to see the impact of the Trust-supported Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium that aims to build long-term capacity in Malawi to deliver quality eye care services.

While there, she will meet Malawian scholars and fellows who are receiving eye health training and carrying out research under the Consortium, and patients being screened for eye diseases, including by the new smart-phone based retinal scanning technology, Peek Retina. She will furthermore, see first-hand that pioneering new technologies ensure that Malawians get their eyes screened in any setting, while she visits a Lilongwe Primary School to see pupils having their eyes screened by a smartphone.

The Queen’s envoy will also undertake two visits in Lilongwe to view projects run by two of Malawi’s three of the Queen’s Young Leaders. She will first meet young women being supported by the ‘Girls Arise for Change’ initiative – a project that was set up by 2017 winner Virginia Khunguni and which teaches work place skills to young women affected by violence and lack of education.

The Royal visitor will also see the ‘Loud Ink’ project, which 2016 winner Madalo Banda established to provide young writers with a platform to engage in social issues through stories.

To arrange interviews or for more information, contact: Christina Cullen, Media Relations, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust,christinacullen@me.com00 44 (0) 7985 440 238.


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