Moses Kombra is one of our students currently completing his studies in Papua New Guinea, despite the challenges of COVID-19.
He is on track to finish his Advanced Diploma in Eye Care this year when he will go home to meet the demands in his local community. The task that awaits him is enormous, but he has faith and he has passion and that will take him a long way.
Here he shares a bit about himself, including what motivated him to undertake this challenge, and what he hopes to achieve in the future.
My name is Moses Kombra. I am 34 years old, and I come from the Western Highlands province of Papua New Guinea.
I grew up in a rural setting, where daily life was all about farming and fishing. My school was a good distance away. So were medical facilities, it took a long time to walk to them.
After high school, I studied general nursing. This was my work for several years, but I was always troubled by one thing. Eye care. In Papua New Guinea eye care does not receive the attention other areas of medicine do. I would say it has been largely overlooked.
That is why preventable blindness is so prevalent in this country. Seeing people going to the health centres with eye problems and coming back home unresolved, left some scars in my mind, it breaks my heart to see my people suffering unnecessarily, simply because not enough has been done for eye medicine.
That is why I am studying to be an ophthalmic clinician, so I can enlighten the health authorities and our communities that eye care is essential. The eye is one of the body’s vital organs, the bible calls it the light of the body.
I have strong faith, and a strong conviction this is what I must do, care for the light of the body.
I am studying for my Advanced Diploma in Eye Care at Divine Word University in Madang. Through my time studying, I have received so much support from The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ and the donors in New Zealand. It makes me feel very humble, I owe them so much.
The Foundation gives us many, many things. They help recruit and cover the cost of teaching staff and provide resources for teaching like consumables. They assist with the curriculum, making sure it is right for us and up to date. They provide equipment for students like myself, like my laptop and other things I need for learning. I know the donors in New Zealand help to make all this possible.
For myself, I am also lucky because I have a scholarship awarded by The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. The scholarship includes course fees and dormitory and meal costs so I can live on campus in Madang.
Our studies have been interrupted by COVID-19. Many schools and universities had to shut down, but we were able to learn online. It is not quite the same, but I believe we will complete this academic year successfully despite everything.
When I leave here, I have two main goals. One is to look after ordinary people who cannot afford to go to a hospital for their eye care. With my knowledge, I can bridge a big gap in rural communities, where I can also teach people to look after their eyes properly.
I also want to teach other health workers to know more about eye care. We have neglected this for too long. I am passionate about this.
I want to repay the faith you have placed in me, and that I will become one of the clinicians in the country who are making a big impact.
I also pray and hope the donors in New Zealand continue to fund The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ to continue this marvellous and tremendous work in Papua New Guinea.
Thank you again for sponsoring me to fulfil my calling and my dream.
God bless your generous heart.
After graduating at the end of 2021, Moses is now a qualified Ophthalmic Clinician and seeing patients in a province close to his home.