Observations BMJ Confidential

Andrew Potter: Restoring sight and dignity in Benin

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i5615 (Published 19 October 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5615


Andrew Potter is an ophthalmologist who has spent more than 30 years in francophone Africa—mostly in Benin, where he set up an eye hospital in Parakou in 2005. As a student at Cambridge he used a travel scholarship to visit Benin (then Dahomey), which was a formative experience. After qualifying he moved there under the auspices of the Christian Blind Mission. The hospital serves rural poor patients, some of whom travel hundreds of miles from neighbouring Niger and Nigeria with cataract and glaucoma. Potter writes occasional letters from Benin for the Guardian Weekly and was appointed an MBE in 2001.

What was your earliest ambition?

I had three: to be a bus conductor (a job now obsolete), a ship’s captain, and a doctor. The nearest I got to commanding a ship was to be a cox on the river Cam in my college third (medics) boat.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

The late Joseph Taylor spent a large part of his career in Africa promoting blindness …

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