The Countess of Wessex to visit Trust programmes in Malawi

6 March 2017

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On the occasion of Commonwealth Week Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex GCVO, Vice Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, will visit Trust programmes in Malawi to end avoidable blindness and champion young leaders.

During her time in Malawi, Her Royal Highness will travel to the Kasungu district where she will see the activities underway as part of our initiative with the Malawian Ministry of Health and the International Coalition for Trachoma Control to eliminate blinding trachoma.

The Countess’ visit comes at an exciting time in Malawi as the country 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 disease.

The country is on track to meet by 2018 the World Health Organisation criteria where trachoma is no longer a public health problem and verification of elimination by 2020.

The Countess will visit Lilongwe’s Kamuzu Hospital to see the impact of the Trust-supported Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium to build long term capacity in Malawi to deliver quality eye care services. Her Royal Highness will meet with 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. The Countess will see first-hand how new technology is ensuring people can get their eyes screened in any setting, when  visiting a Primary School to see a demonstration of the Peek School screening app.

The Countess will also undertake two visits to projects run by Malawi’s Queen’s Young Leaders. Her Royal Highness will firstly meet young women being supported by the ‘Girls Arise for Change’ initiative – a project set up by 2017 winner Virginia Khunguni  which teaches work place skills to young women affected by violence and lack of education.

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