March 2016 Newsletter Highlights
HCP Partners Provide Over 2,700 Cataract Surgeries This Month in Ghana, Ethiopia and India Through Targeted Outreach
High-Volume Cataract Campaign in Keta Yields Record High Numbers
HCP’s primary partner in Ghana, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), has been steadily expanding its outreach efforts to increase access to cataract surgery for those living in regions with no ophthalmologist. Earlier this month, the KATH outreach team conducted its largest cataract campaign to date – providing 402 cataract surgeries in Keta, a coastal town three hours east of Accra. HCP co-founder Dr. Geoff Tabin joined the team, which included KATH ophthalmologists Drs. Seth Lartey, Amos Aikens, Akwasi Ahmed and many nurses and assistants who worked tirelessly from 7:30 AM to almost midnight for five days.
"The quality of the surgery has been excellent with great surgical results," said Dr. Tabin. "This is by far the best I’ve seen in Ghana.”
There were many shining eyes and signs of happiness following the successful sight-restoring surgeries, including two women who had been blind for over ten years and a 28-year-old mother of four whose surgery made it possible for her to see her youngest child for the first time.
Cataract Campaigns Continue to Expand in Ethiopia
Quiha Zonal Hospital Provides More than 1,000 Surgeries in Mekelle, Ethiopia
HCP partner Dr. Tilahun Kiros and a local team helped provide an incredible number of surgeries in just over one week at the Quiha Zonal Hospital. Working with HCP affiliated ophthalmologists and partners, such as Moran Eye Center–HCP International Fellow Dr. John Welling and Moran Chief Resident Dr. Adam Jorgensen, the team from Ethiopia has become a powerful force against unnecessary blindness in the country.
With each outreach they are becoming more and more proficient and the outcomes are testament to their hard work and dedication to the people of Ethiopia.
Successful Outreaches Take Place in Mangarh and Vrindavan, India
HCP partner, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology completed two high-volume cataract campaigns in northern India this month.
The first campaign in Mangarh resulted in 824 successful surgeries. The second campaign in Vrindavan provided 387 surgeries. This marked Tilganga's first outreach in Vrindavan. Both cataract campaigns were held in cooperation with the Jagadguru Kripalu Charity Hospital. The hospital is located in Vrindavan at Mathura District of Uttar Pradesh.
Both Tilganga and the Jagadguru Kripalu Charity Hospital hope to conduct future high-volume cataract campaigns for the people of the Mathura district.
Education and Training
Specialized Training: Oculoplastics Workshop in Addis Ababa
HCP Affiliated Ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Richards traveled to Addis Ababa to work with Dr. Meseret Ejigu and others at Menelik II Hospital during a week-long, hands-on training workshop. The group completed 17 complex cases.
Included in the cases was a 17-year-old patient with epilepsy. She had suffered from a seizure that caused her to fall into a fire, badly scarring her face. Dr. Richards guided Dr. Meseret through a complicated graft procedure to reconstruct her eyelids. She is doing quite well after the procedure.
These trainings allow local doctors to greatly improve service to their patients. We are grateful to the training team for passing on their skills. Pictured from left to right, Dr. John Welling (HCP, Moran International Fellow), Dr. Yonas (Menelik II Hospital), Dr. Yousuf Khalifa (Emory University), Dr. Michael Richards (Duke University), Dr. Meseret Ejigu (Menelik II Hospital), and Dr. Nathan Blessing (Bascom Palmer).
Education and Skills Transfer in East Timor
HCP Affiliated Ophthalmologist Dr. Sam Cady recently returned from East Timor where he was helping facilitate knowledge and skills transfer to five East Timorese doctors who are training in ophthalmology.
Cataract and glaucoma surgeries were conducted with the trainees under the guidance of Dr. Cady, a cataract and glaucoma specialist at the Maine Eye Center, lead ophthalmologist Dr. Manoj Sharma from Nepal, and Lucia Fernandez, OD clinical director of Maine Eye Center.
Along with the procedures, Dr. Cady also provided lectures to the trainees on various topics related to cataract and glaucoma care. The training program was overseen by the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.
Nepal Earthquake Update
Community Eye Center Repaired in Dolakha, Nepal
The aftershocks of the massive earthquake that struck Nepal last year damaged a number of historic sites, hospitals and schools, including the Dolakha Lions Eye Center (DLEC).
With the generous support of our donors, HCP provided financial support to help repair the DLEC. We are pleased to report the repairs were completed in March and the DLEC will once again allow local teams to provide eye care and education to the community.
Since the DLEC was established in December of 2003, more than 5,100 people have received sight-restoring surgery and more than 12,000 people have received eye check-ups and treatment.
We received the following letter from a mother in Ohio who celebrated her son's first birthday by raising money to provide life-changing cataract surgery for others. Thank you Abigail for sharing your story and your generosity. We're so happy to hear Aston's vision is improving and we know his future will be bright. Happy Birthday, Aston!
My name is Abigail and my son Aston turned one on March 13, 2016. Aston was born with microphthalmia in both eyes, a genetic disorder causing the eyes to be small and underdeveloped. At 3 months old he had cataracts removed from both eyes. We live in Ohio and traveled to Detroit to see a surgeon who was the best at these cases. The procedure went great and he has had 2 surgeries since that. His vision is improving and we have high hopes for his future. For Aston's first birthday, in lieu of gifts we asked people to bring money to donate to your organization as it is something close to our hearts. The work you do to help eradicate blindness in places where the care you provide would otherwise be inaccessible is truly amazing. We raised $175 to donate!!! Thank you for all you are continuing to do to make this world a better place!