Ugandan Doctor to Speak at Santa Fe College on Eye Care Issues in Africa

Ugandan Doctor to Speak at Santa Fe College on Eye Care Issues in Africa

Prominent Ugandan ophthalmologist Dr. Cillasy Tumwesigye will give a lecture, “Healthcare in Uganda: How Culture and Environment Affect Delivery,” at Santa Fe College at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27.

He will share moving stories of his experiences restoring the vision of Uganda’s children and adults. His talk is free and open to the public, and will be in the Health Science Annex in room 104 (WA-104) at the Northwest campus. 

Dr. Tumwesigye comes to Santa Fe via his friendship with Health Sciences Professor Carol Thomas. In the summers, Thomas volunteers in the play therapy area of a pediatric HIV/Aids clinic in Mulago Hospital, Uganda’s leading teaching hospital, where Dr. Tumwesigye runs the eye clinic.

In 2009, Thomas organized SF faculty, staff and students to pay for Dr. Tumwesigye to attend the meeting of the American Association of Ophthalmologists’ meeting in San Francisco in order to network with ophthalmologists doing international work. This will be his second trip to the United States.

“There are very few ophthalmologists in Uganda who can give care to all the people who need it,”  explained Thomas. “River blindness, or onchocerchiasis, is a big issue there. It’s transmitted by flies and affects the cornea, and people can go blind.”

Then there’s trachoma, a bacterial infection of the eye that is easily treatable. 

“The kids rub dirt in their eyes and it causes scarring of the cornea,” Thomas said. “All they have to do is wash in clean water — but that’s an issue in itself.”

And for people with cataracts, one small surgery will give a person back his sight.

“In the villages, when someone is blind, a small child is assigned to guide that person around. One simple surgery and the blind person and the child both get their lives back,” she said.

During his visit, Dr. Tumwesigye hopes to network with medical professionals interested in different ways to help.  

Dr. Tumwesigye holds a degree In medicine from Makerere University in Uganda, a Masters in Ophthalmology from Makerere University, and a Master of Science degree in Community Eye Health from University College in London.

He has worked as a medical officer in Grade A Hospital in Entebbe, Uganda, and as an ophthalmologist at Mulago Hospital for the past 12 years. His duties include teaching undergraduate and postgraduate medical students in ophthalmology, directing outpatient eye clinics, and conducting surgeries. His external duties include directing and performing eye care in underserved communities in rural Uganda. He has worked in partnership with the international charity, SightSavers.

In addition to his lecture at Santa Fe, Dr. Tumwesigye will shadow Dr. Nausheen Khuddus, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Shands’ Hampton Oaks, and he will attend the Alachua Lion’s Club meeting Thursday night.

For more information about this visit or to contact him, please call Professor Carol Thomas at 352-395-5681 or 352-871-5294, or email to

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Professor Carol Thomas, 352-395-5681 or 352-871-5294 (cell), or

Julie Garrett, media relations, for assistance facilitating your story, 352-395-5430 or 352-870-2924 (cell) or