Moorfields consultant awarded MBE

Moorfields Eye Hospital consultant ophthalmologist Ian Murdoch has been awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year Honours List 2022.

This has been in recognition of his services to health in West Africa, which he has been deeply passionate about, especially in glaucoma. Ian thanks his West African colleagues, and the teams at Moorfields and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (IoO) who have all been involved with the project and is excited to see work continue.

“It has been my privilege to know my West African colleagues who demonstrate unrivalled determination, dedication and humour in overcoming the most enormous obstacles, and to see every single sector and profession of Moorfields and quite a few aspects of the Institute throw themselves wholeheartedly into helping with the project,” said Ian.

“It has been exciting and fun to be part of this effort. But we are not finished! There is so much yet to do to get online courses running, continue training trainers, ensure sustainability of the courses, widen the hands-on training both in topics and extending beyond the single training centre, and see that the curriculum works in producing world-class surgery and care in West Africa and much more.”

This work dates to 1989, when Ian was working with Barrie Jones and Adenike Abiose, conducting a large study on onchocerciasis (river blindness) that would show ivermectin is safe for community dosage. In 2012, the communities they had previously worked with were integral to proving its potential for the elimination of the disease in Africa.

2012 also saw Ian work with UCL IoO educationalists to plan a training package for sub-specialist surgery in West Africa, with Moorfields clinicians involved in developing materials and courses. These would be accessible on smartphones for ‘head knowledge’ prior to face to face training in procedures.

A corridor meeting with Sir Thomas Boyd-Carpenter in 2003 led to a project to build a surgical training centre and the establishment of a charity to raise funds. The Lions International Eye Centre was completed in 2015 in Accra, Ghana and handed over to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, one of the largest teaching hospitals in West Africa.

In 2016, Ian and members of the team from IoO developed ‘train the trainers’ courses both to improve medical training across West Africa and to enable the sub-specialist courses to be run by West Africa, in West Africa, for West Africa. Two landmarks were the first ‘train the trainers’ course, and the first sub-speciality course run by West Africans, were completed in early 2020 just prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

2019 also saw a joint effort between Moorfields and IoO to complete a new comprehensive sub-specialist training curriculum for West African ophthalmologists.

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