Conference Speakers


Prof H B Faal retired in 2011 to being  an Adjunct Professor of International Eye Health, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar Nigeria. Her career spanning over four decades have been devoted to promoting and advocating for eye care globally. She obtained her medical degree from Nigerian Premier University, the University of Ibadan and post graduate medical education from the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan specializing in ophthalmology with a Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and later with honorary Fellowships of the West African College of Surgeons and the Nigerian National Postgraduate Medical College . She was one of the three pioneer consultant Ophthalmologists at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin in 1976. She was also trained at the International Center for Eye Health (ICEH) where she was introduced to public/community health. Perhaps, this training was to redirect her focus from patient eye care to public eye health.

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She served as eye programme consultant for the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind (now Sightsavers International. She successfully planned and executed the Gambia  Comprehensive Integrated eye care programme including school eye health and inclusive education. With reference to the Gambia eye care programme, Prof O OAjayi in an article to mark UCH at 50 in 2007 wrote the following about the work of Prof Hannah Faal:

In the Republic of The Gambia, as far back as 1988, a Nigerian doctor with her team trained nurses to perform cataract extraction. In time she went on to enhance the skills of particularly talented ones among them, in many steps up, by including lens implantation. The doctor was Hannah Faal…’

The success of the Gambia eye care progamme in reducing the prevalence of blindness by over 40% within 10 years (1986- 1996) in under-resourced environment laid the template for the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness. VISION 2020: The Right to Sight Initiative, launched in 1999. Lessons learnt were shared globally through her work as adviser to the WHO Geneva Prevention of Blindness programme and as lecturer at the International Centre for Eye Health, London and  locally in all human resource for eye health development in sub Saharan Africa.

Prof H B Faal has served the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) as Vice President, President and Immediate Past President between 1994 and 2008. It is instructive to note that it was during her tenure that the Right to Sight Initiative was launched.Refractive errors and low vision was included in that document and were recognised as a public health problem and  formed the basis for the working relationship between WHO, IAPB and the World Council of Optometry (WCO). Specifically in West Africa and Nigeria, she advocated for and worked with optometry to include community eye health in training and practice.

Prof H B Faal sits on a number of eye health related boards and committees and chairs  the African Vision Research Institute, South Africa.  She has over 60 publications,   over 2000 citations and some book chapters. For her work, contribution to prevention of blindness and impact on education and development of ophthalmology in the Middle East and Africa she has received numerous awards including the MEACO Distinction Award. She also presented the Elizabeth Cass Lecture of the International Society of Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology (ISGEO) in November, 2016. The topic of her lecture was ‘Quality Preparedness in Eye Care’.

Our keynote speaker is a grandmother, a mentor, a doctor, a consummate professional and an advocate of team work for eye health and  the prevention of blindness, patient and community centred care, the environment and planetary health.

Professor Olalekan Alabi Oduntan,
Department of Optometry, Madonna University,
Elele, Rivers State.


Professor Oduntan obtained B.Sc. Hons (First Class), Optometry from UNIBEN in 1982 and PhD, Optometry from the City University, London., UK, 1988. He was a Commonwealth Scholar. He has over 30 years of tertiary teaching experience at various institutions: King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, University of Limpopo (UL), South Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and Madonna University, Nigeria. He has supervised several Masters and PhD students. He has over 80 Research articles in peer-reviewed journals including Optometry and Vision Science, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, Clinical and Experimental Optometry, Graefe’s Archives of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmic Research et cetera. Among his research achievements is the discovery of an elastic tissue lamina in the primate conjunctiva (J. Anat. 1989, 163: 165- 172). He is the author of Global Visual Impairment: Epidemiology, Implications and Prevention. UL Press, 2005, (ISBN 0-9584778-8-4) and a chapter in a book: The role of psychotherapy in the contemporary rehabilitation of visually impaired patients. In: Madu NS (Ed). Mental Health and Psychology in Africa, World Council for Psychotherapy, UL Press, Polokwane, 2005.  He has completed a book manuscript: Contemporary Low Vision Care.


Professor Matthew Oriowo
Professor of Optometry & Vision Science
University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

Professor Matthew Olanrewaju Oriowo graduated from the University of Benin, where he earned his BSc (Optometry) in 1985 winning the best graduating student award in Physiological Optics. After a brief stint at University of Houston College of Optometry, Texas, USA, he subsequently obtained MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada. While at University of Waterloo, he won the best MSc student award and was on the Faculty of Science Dean’s honour’s roll throughout his postgraduate studies. He completed his Doctoral degree with distinctions winning the prestigious University of Waterloo Pearson Medal and Certificate for outstanding doctoral research and dissertation.

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Prior to embarking on University teaching career, Prof. Oriowo practiced for 6 years in public and private eye clinics including ECWA Hospital Egbe, Best-Hope Hospital and Metro Eye Clinics, Lagos. He was the first head of Egbe Hospital Eye Clinic (1987/88).  In 1984/85, he was president of the Nigerian Optometric Student Association. In the early 1990s, he served as Contact Lens / Industrial Vision Consultant in Lagos. Between 1991 and 1992 he served as the National Secretary of the Nigerian Optometric Association. His teaching appointments and experience have been at the University of Benin; King Saud University; University of Houston; University of Waterloo; the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden – where the Nobel prize in Science and Medicine  is decided and awarded annually); and University of Limpopo, South Africa. Professor Oriowo was promoted to the rank of Associate professor in 2002, and appointed full chair professor in 2009. In 2002 he moved to Sweden from Canada, where he served as the HOD / Director of Studies for Optometry at the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm) between 2003 and 2005.

He has received numerous scholarships and honours  including the University of Houston College of Optometry Postdoctoral award; University of Waterloo Postgraduate scholarships; American Academy of Optometry research travel awards; Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometry research award; the Canadian Optometric Education Trust Fund research grant; the University of Waterloo Postdoctoral fellowship; the Swedish Medical Society (Ophthalmology section) research award (2003); the Karolinska Institute distinguished Optometry teacher’s award (2003 and 2004); the University of Limpopo Best Lecturer (300 Level students) award (2011); the American Academy of Optometry – Essilor Award for Outstanding International Contributions to Optometry (2012);  among others. His research record includes an impressive list of publications, workshop and conference presentations. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, and has been a member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, British Contact Lens Association, International Association of Contact Lens Educators, American Society for Photobiology, and Sigma Xi Research Society (USA).

In 2013, Professor Oriowo through collaborative effort succeeded in setting up the University of Ilorin Optometry and Vision Science Program, and continues his professional/research interests in primary eye care, cornea and contact lens wear, blindness prevention, occupational vision, ocular toxicology, and advocacy for standard international Optometry education. Currently, Professor Oriowo is the Head of Department, Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Ilorin. He is happily married with children.