Two local doctors among ten receiving UWI’s Pelican Award

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Two medical experts, in the field of eyecare, from Antigua and Barbuda were among 10 distinguished alumni of the University of the West Indies (UWI) who were recognised for contributions to their communities and areas of endeavour at the university’s 70th anniversary Pelican Awards this past weekend.
Optometrist Dr. Jillia Bird was signalled out for her sterling contribution to health and excellence in Optometry in Antigua and Barbuda, while retired Ophthalmologist Dr. Reginald Walwyn was awarded for his sterling contribution to medicine, leadership and excellence in Ophthalmology in Antigua and Barbuda.
The special awards ceremony, in St. Lucia on Saturday, was held in honour of UWI’s 70th anniversary and the UWI Open Campus’s 10th anniversary.
The Pelican Award is the University of the West Indies Alumni Association’s (UWIAA) most prestigious award and is based on the criteria that a fellow graduate of UWI has excelled in his/her chosen field and has made significant contributions to the UWI, the Caribbean and beyond.
Dr. Bird, who has dedicated 30 years in her profession, particularly in the area of glaucoma support, was happy to be recognised by her peers.
“I have spent 30 years mobilising the Caribbean and Latin America and the globe. I try to extend my reach worldwide because information is the major problem with glaucoma awareness because people present late with the disorder and so sight is compromised and nobody has to go blind because of glaucoma,” Dr Bird said.
Dr Reginald Walwyn, 93, who retired from the profession about seven years ago, according to his family, was among the first set of 33 students to graduate from UWI 70 years ago. His children Jacki and Dr. Ian Walwyn travelled to St. Lucia to accept the award in his honour.
According to his biography, Dr. Walwyn started his work in Antigua as a medical officer after he returned to the Eastern Caribbean in 1957, he worked as a medical officer for two years, then as Medical Officer District 6 for another 10 years.
In July 1962, he went to London and did a Diploma in Ophthalmology, and returned to the University Hospital in July 1963 for a year as Registrar in Ophthalmology. A year later, he returned to Antigua and was appointed government Ophthalmologist in December 1964, a post which he held until his retirement in December 2013. This post was held in conjunction with the post of District Medical Officer for five years.

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