(MyStory 003): See Nepal Through The Lens of an Optometrist from Africa

My Story Episode 003 || © Vision Club 2020

Who is Dr. Sedinam Annor Forfoe

Dr. Sedinam Forfoe, Optometrist, Ghana

Dr. Sedinam Forfoe, a Ghanaian Optometrist obtained Doctor of Optometry degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (2011-2017). After which he did an internship at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, Ghana from 2017 to 2018. He started working at the same Teaching Hospital from 2018 till date. He also holds a certificate in Low Vision Training from Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology(TIO).

Prologue from Vision Club

Dr. Sedi (as we call him as a friend), is one of few pioneering optometrists practicing in the Republic of Ghana, in the West Africa, harboring a population of 28.8 millions. Of course, he too has a great story of how he traversed the journey to become an optometrist. But this time, he is only sharing how he felt about Nepal, Nepalese and optometry practice in the tenure of low vision training at TIO. Admittedly, TIO is a hub of teaching and learning; and many people come here for the same. Because he was cheerful, energetic and friendly he remained close to us. We would like to thank Dr. Sedi for sharing his experience and feeling about Nepal. We wish to welcome him sometime again.  

My Nepal Experience

I was privileged to be one of a few individuals sponsored by the Himalayan Cataract Project to undergo low vision training at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. I arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal on the 2nd of June, 2019. My first impression was the size of the institute with so many rooms and departments. Looking from the outside, the building looked quite small but when you enter there were never-ending series of rooms! I was the resident of one of those rooms at the third floor during my one-month long stay.

The optometrists I encountered were very brilliant and knowledgeable. They also possessed high practical skills. I was therefore surprised it wasn't a doctor program in Nepal because the optometrists could do everything in the scope of optometry. It didn't take long to finish my low vision training since the institute had basic low vision aids. I want to deliver special thanks to Mr. Rupesh Poudel, my supervisor, who only did not train me in low vision but in contact lens as well. I still miss the bombardment of questions he threw at me. I learnt so much from him. 

I was really impressed with their contact lens practice, nevertheless. The optometrist (Mr. Rupesh Poudel) prescribed contact lenses to lots of patients and they accepted so easily. It was quite surprising for me because such is not the case in my country. We have relatively limited scope of contact lens practice, most probably due to scarce number of practitioners or lesser degree of awareness among the consumers. By seeing the happy faces of those with high Cyls, Keratoconus and high myopia fitted with RGPs and sclerals, I feel encouraged to step further ahead in these kinds of practice in my country.

Another positive impression for me was a NGO setup by some optometrists in Nepal that worked so actively in community level to reduce the number of uncorrected refractive errors in the country, especially to those who could not afford spectacles. I also went with Jeewa and Rabindra to attend one of few meetings at Radisson Hotel, Lazimpat, whereby they presented their plans and project in front of the foreign delegates from the donor organizations. Their organization's name was Better Vision Foundation.
Public bus experience with Rabindra and Jeewa

What I didn't like was working from Sunday to Friday! Working six days a week kinda sucks. We work 5 days here.

There was so much fun especially with the optometry masters' students I encountered. They were friendly and we went on visiting few places. One unforgettable experience was getting lost at midnight in Shivapuri jungle. We were at the middle of nowhere that night, and were totally drenched from head to toe by the heavy rain before we could find any shelter. That hill was shivering cold and boys got me sacks to cover up. Exploring the city life was also one of a good adventures for me. I also went to Nagarkot with Nepali friends.

And oh! I was amazed by the fact that lots of fat cows were roaming in the city and regarded as a god. They were literally causing traffics to snarl up. Amazing lively gods that you can see in the middle of the Kathmandu streets!! 

And cars were so expensive to my surprise. A car I would buy here for $2000 was selling at $12000, which is very outrageous. They say it was due to taxation or something. 

Aside all the fun, one thing I could not get used to was the food. I loved Momo though. Almost every places in Kathmandu would be selling momo. It was people's favorite lunch there. 

I would love to conclude that my experience in Nepal was a great one simply because it is a country with friendly citizens and they have a great weather as well. I am so glad to say that my first visit to Asia was to Nepal. Friends there taught me to speak few Nepali words too. I will forever remember one word, which is "Danyabad!!"
Dhanyabad to you all.

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