VISION 2020 LINKS programme

Botswana visitors in clinic at Addenbrooke's Hospital July 2009

Improving eye care training by linking eye care institutions in the UK and Africa

The VISION 2020 LINKS Programme works to improve quality and quantity of eye care training, mainly in Africa. The programme, which began in 2004, has so far established 21 links between training institutions in Africa and the UK. It works by matching an African eye department with a UK eye department in a partnership to train the whole eye care team. ICEH helps develop the programme by acting as a resource and networking centre, as well as facilitating new LINKS in NHS hospitals. The impact so far includes:

  • Skills in vitreoretinal surgery where none existed before (Malawi)
  • Paediatric surgery (Malawi, Swaziland)
  • Management of diabetic retinopathy including laser treatment (Tanzania, Botswana)
  • Medical and surgical glaucoma management (Sudan)

Find out more

Download a detailed introduction to the programme (PDF 65Kb)

Contact us

Support the VISION 2020 LINKS Programme


Please click the donate button if you would like to contribute to supporting the VISION 2020 LINKS Programme. This service is provided by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) through the Charities Aid Foundation. It is secure and your personal details are protected at all times. Donors with non-UK bank accounts should select the single donation option.

What participants say about the programme

“The visit of the team seemed to open the doors for children to come for help at the unit. Perhaps it was the advertising, or maybe by word of mouth after successful surgery, but since the team’s visit there have been a large number of successful cataract surgeries on children.” Dr Jonathan Pons, Consultant Ophthalmologist Good Shepherd Hospital, Siteki, Swaziland.

“The team in Lilongwe and Nkoma are full of enthusiasm and with a little support from us are able to produce very good quality clinical research. It was refreshing for me to see that the people there have their own ideas on what they want to do and it is good to be facilitating that – especially when you see how they are working under such difficult conditions compared with UK ophthalmologists. It is as much a learning experience for me as for them.”  Dr Bal Dhillon, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Honorary Professor, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Tools and resources for participants

IAPB Africa Resources for Eye Health

Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium short and long term / one year fellowships

Commonwealth Eye Health Consortium Short and long term / one year attachments for ophthalmologists may be available in their partner UK LINK institution. To request a short term training  attachment please send a request to Marcia Zondervan,, and Nick Astbury,

The request needs to include a plan for the attachment training and an explanation of the need for the chosen specialty and how it will improve eye care services at the home institution. Please include letters from the Heads of Department confirming the support of both LINK partners to the proposed attachment.