The COECSA congress was attended by over 600 delegates, including a small team from ICEH, and had the theme “Ophthalmology: Learning, Innovating, Leading.” In the three days leading to the COECSA congress, the ISOO (International Society of Ocular Oncology), held for the first time their annual meeting in Africa, in the same venue as the COECSA Congress, with a day of overlap for subspecialty. The ISOO meeting was led by Kahaki Kimani and Didi Fabian. Richard Bowman presented the TopCat Trial at the meeting.
At COECSA, the first day was dedicated to sub-specialties which included a public health session for the first time, attracting huge interest in a very packed room and included a panel of ICEH alumni as moderators (Ciku, Nyawira, Cindy) and several alumni presentations.
The first day of the congress included the graduation ceremony for 26 new COECSA fellows, sessions on technology, research and innovation. The second day included an inspiring keynote speech by one of ICEH recent alumni, Gladys Atto, on the challenges of working in rural Karamoja. Other ICEH alumni also presenting were Dorothy Mutie (who was also overall organiser of the conference), Elanor Watts, Shaffi Mdala, Juliet Mulenga, Stephen Gichuhi, Cindy Ogundo and Charles Cleland. Mike Burdon traced the history of the COECSA-RCOphth LINK.
Ciku and Marcia shone at the Women Leaders in Ophthalmology breakfast session on day three with an overflowing room despite the very early start time at 7 am!
Approximately 30 of the ICEH alumni present at the meeting had a convivial get together, expertly organised by Rom and with Stephen Gichuhi as master of ceremonies.
Marcia, Cova, Shaffi and the team at KUHES (Malawi) had several meetings to co-develop Phase 2 of the NIHR grant proposal. The Saturday after the meeting, Tara and Cova attended the East Africa Human Resources for Eye Health Workshop, where Tara presented the results from the recent study in the region led by ICEH. Also participating at the Workshop were Simon Arunga, Oteri Okolo and Michael Gichangi.
Next year the COECSA congress will be in Zimbabwe and we plan to have an Rb-NET day in advance of the congress.
The COECSA Congress is going from strength to strength and ICEH alumni representation was notable. Altogether a successful meeting with opportunities for networking with our African colleagues and partners.