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Himalayan Cataract Project E-News: September 2010

Here you will find news on the latest international eye care activities. This month’s newsletter includes:

  • HCP 2009 Annual Report available on the website
  • Strong HCP representation at APAO 25th annual conference in Beijing
  • Reaching the unreachable in Bhutan
  • Cornea Fellow arrives from Nepal
  • Awareness workshops and outreach activities in Hetauda, Nepal
  • HCP Advisory Board member returns from Afghanistan
  • Ghana update: Outreach & construction progress
  • HCP attends launch of London Vision Clinic Foundation
  • HCP participates in Vision 2020 USA meeting in Washington

HCP 2009 Annual Report now available on the website

The Himalayan Cataract Project 2009 Annual Report is now available on the website. You can find it on this page in the News section of the site.

HCP attends APAO Conference in Beijing, China

HCP Co-Directors Drs. Geoff Tabin and Sanduk Ruit attended the 25th Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) conference in Beijing and met up with HCP Board Member Professor Hugh Taylor and HCP Advisory Board Member Dr. David Chang. All board members participated in lectures and you can read more about the discussion on SICS versus Phaco in Eye World magazine.

Following the APAO, Dr. Chang arranged for Dr. Tabin to visit Project Vision’s eye centers in southern China.

“I am very impressed by what [Project Vision Director] Dennis Lam is accomplishing here. The attention to quality, detail and follow up is very good. They have an excellent training and skill transfer method and superb follow up and documentation of results. There is quite a bit that we can take from their program and it could be a great partnership for improving the quality in our efforts in both Lhasa and Xining.”

- Geoff Tabin

Reaching the unreachable in Bhutan

In August, former HCP Fellow Dr. Nor Tshering led a team to the northern part of Bhutan to conduct two remote outreach eye clinics in Lunana and Laya. The Lunana area is the most remote region of Bhutan, accessible only by a ten-day walk from the nearest road on mule tracks. There are 150 households in the village which is situated at an altitude somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 feet. In each village, the team screened approximately 100 patients and in Laya provided 18 cataract surgeries. To read the full account of the outreach workshops, please read "Eye Care Services to the Remote Areas of Bhutan."  [PDF, 1.8Mb]

Patients are screened in Laya.
Village of Laya, Bhutan.

Cornea Fellow arrives from Nepal

Dr. Kavita

Dr. Kavita Dhakhwa, a cornea specialist from the Lumbini Eye Institute in Nepal, arrived at the John A. Moran Eye Center for the start of her three-month observational Cornea Fellowship. The fellowship is a collaborative effort between HCP and Seva Foundation and includes observing patients with varieties of corneal diseases and observing corneal surgeries.

“This program is inspiring me a lot and will help me to apply those experiences and knowledge in my practice back in Nepal. In short, this program is a wonderful experience in my career as a corneal surgeon.”

- Dr. Kavita

Dr. Kavita will continue to Oregon to work with HCP Board Member Dr. Matt Oliva before returning to Lumbini. She is the second cornea specialist at Lumbini to be trained and the eighth corneal specialist in Nepal.

Awareness workshops and outreach activities in Hetauda, Nepal

Senior ophthalmic assistant Mr. Tulasi Pd. Chudal examines a patient.

The Hetauda Community Eye Hospital is facilitating eye health awareness workshops for factory workers in various industries including a glaucoma awareness program where doctors share knowledge and initiate support groups for patients. Hetauda staff members are also collaborating with the local Red Cross in remote areas in the western part of Makawanpur District to screen workers and distribute medicine.

The Hetauda Community Eye Center became a Community Eye Hospital in 2008 with HCP’s support and has been expanding both its hospital and outreach services.

HCP Advisory Board member returns from Afghanistan

George Like

HCP Advisory Board Member George Like has concluded his latest overseas tour with USAID as Field Program Officer at Forward Operating Base Kala Gush in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan.

Mr. Like has a short reprieve before continuing to Suriname in November to serve with the US Peace Corps as Country Director.

Ghana Update: Outreach & construction progress

Cataract patients are prepared for surgery.

Dr. Peter Osei-Bonsu, pediatric ophthalmologist at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), led an outreach workshop restoring sight to 31 patients in Gyetiase, a small village with a population of 1,000. The workshop was a collaborative effort between Ashanti Development, an NGO based in London; Specsavers; KATH; and HCP. HCP continues to enthusiastically support outreach events that restore sight to the needlessly blind in the most remote locations.

Mr. Eddie Botchway, inspector for construction at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, reports that the project is on schedule with site work and concrete and iron work underway. Here are a few photos of the project.

Construction proceeds at KATH in Ghana.

HCP attends launch of London Vision Clinic Foundation’s efforts to raise awareness for refractive care in Nepal

Pictured from the left, Gopal Karmacharya, Job Hientz, Dr. Kishore Pradhan and Dr. Dan Reinstein.

HCP’s Job Heintz traveled to London for the launch of the London Vision Clinic Foundation’s Humanitarian Laser Eye Surgery Program, whose aim is to bring awareness to the need for refractive care in Nepal.

HCP has partnered with London Vision Clinic to develop the Refractive Surgical Unit at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, a USAID-ASHA supported project that was approved in July 2009.

The London Vision Clinic Foundation was established by HCP Advisory Board Member Professor Dan Reinstein to develop a permanent solution for refractive error for those who need it most. Tilganga’s Dr. Kishore Pradhan and Mr. Gopal Karmacharya were also in London for the launch.

Read more about the HCP and LVC partnership on our website.

HCP participates in Vision 2020 USA meeting in Washington, DC

On September 16, HCP’s Emily Newick attended the Vision 2020 USA Right to Sight Meeting focused on children’s eye health. The agenda included presentation of an award to Rep. Gene Green of Texas and speakers on domestic and international issues in children’s eye health. A child goes blind every minute in the world today and up to 60% of those blind children will die within one year of becoming blind. Most of the blindness can be avoided with cost-effective treatments.

A patient in Nepal.
Drs. Ruit and Tabin at work in India.

The Himalayan Cataract Project works to eradicate preventable and curable blindness through high quality ophthalmic care, education and the establishment of a world-class eye care infrastructure.

Please visit our Web site at to keep up with the latest HCP news. There you will also find information on HCP’s finances, its founders, staff and board members, and ways that you can give the gift of sight.

Remember, through the Himalayan Cataract Project it takes a gift of only $20 to provide life-changing cataract surgery to someone struggling with blindness in the developing world.