2015 has been a year of tremendous challenge for Nepal. Since the two devastating earthquakes in April and May of last year, so much has changed, including the very landscape of Nepal itself. One thing that remains consistent are HCP’s and our partner institution’s, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, commitment to reaching those who most need care. In the last quarter of 2015, Tilganga’s outreach program provided over 1,500 cataract surgeries to patients across Nepal and northern India. This includes 288 surgeries in Nuwakot and 102 surgeries Dolakha – two of most devastated regions by last year’s earthquakes. We are so proud of the TIO team. Dr. Sanduk Ruit and Tilganga’s work was also profiled, In 5 Minutes, He Lets the Blind See, by the New York Times’s Nik Kristoff . HCP is incredibly proud of Tilganga’s team.Tilganga Their resilience and work ethic is evident and despite what they have been through, they continue to provide cataract surgery to those most in need in Nepal.
A Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) supported outreach was held last month in the town of Mustang in Nepal, on the border of Nepal and Tibet. The screening was organized by HCP partner institution, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, as well as the District Community Eye Centre Mustang and the District Health Office Mustang.
Four screening camps were held prior to the outreach. 500 patients were screened and 52 surgeries were completed at the outreach.
One of the patients was 70 year old Phechik. Phechik works at a Buddhist monastery, and had been bilaterally blind (blind in both eyes) for the past eight years. Villagers brought her to the outreach by bike. After surgery her sight was restored, and she was able to return to her home on her own, completely unassisted.
Since our last Global Giving report, Nepal was devastated by two earthquakes. Our partner in Kathmandu, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, led by our co-founder, Dr. Sanduk Ruit, took immediate action, meeting the immediate urgent needs of those effected.
Tilganga provided truckloads of supplies containing food, medical supplies, tenst and linens to the most heavily damaged rural areas. At the hospital in Kathmandu, medical assistance was provided to those in need.
As monsoon fast approached, efforts shifted to creating temporary shelters to those who lost their homes in the earthquake. Temporary shelters are still being created in the Sindu area.
While Nepal and our partners continue recovery efforts, outreach in terms of cataract surgeries has been impacted, while immediate medical issues and needs are addressed.
Recovery and rehabilitation will be a long process, but work has already begun towards bringing Nepal back to its feet.
The Himalayan Cataract Project and our partners are so grateful for the support during this devastating event. In the words of Dr. Ruit, your compassion provided strength at a very challenging time.
The Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP), along with the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, are working with the government of Myanmar to improve the nation's eye care system. As part of this work, in March, Himalayan Cataract Project Co-Founders Drs. Sanduk Ruit and Geoff Tabin, along with partners from the Yangoon Eye Hospital, completed a cataract and corneal surgical training workshop. Over a 10-day period, 30 ophthalmologists and 20 ophthalmology residents gained valuable surgical skills. Over 700 surgeries were completed at two locations (Yangoon and Taunggyu), including 11 corneal transplants. Patients ranged from 4 years to 106 years old.
Additionally, HCP and Tilganga have discussed the development of a Cornea Eye Bank in Myanmar with local partners. Myanmar currently receives a far fewer number of cornea donations than what is needed. The development of a local eye bank would be a tremendous step towards curing corneal disease throughout the country.
Meanwhile in Nepal in March, Dr. Geoff Tabin participated in a four-day, hands-on cornea training workshop at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Nepal. Dr. Tabin worked alongside four Nepali and one Indian corneal specialist to practice new techniques, review procedures, and provide ongoing assessment and training. In 2014, the eye bank had its most successful year with more than 550 corneas made available for transplant.
And in India Dr. Govind Paudyal and his team from the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology returned to Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya Charity Hospital in Mangahr, India, to work with local surgeons on a four-day cataract campaign. Working with local ophthalmologists, Dr. Paudyal’s team completed a total of 894 cataract surgeries and six other eye surgeries.
In December, Himalayan Cataract Project's partner in Nepal, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology's outreach team organized an Outreach Microsurgical Eye Clinic (OMEC) in Nuwokot, Nepal. The team screened 3,763 patients and provided 306 cataract surgeries. The outreach team included trainees from Myanmar, Ethiopia and Australia. Each year the Tilganga outreach team provides close to 10,000 surgeries outside of the main hospital in Kathmandu.
In October, HCP's co-founder, Dr. Sanduk Ruit, led a team from Tilganga to manage outreach cataract events in Bhutan and northern India. The group worked with local surgeons and paramedical staff in both locations. A total of 388 cataract surgeries were provided; 257 in Bhutan and 131 in northern India.
In Bhutan, Dr. Ruit and Royal Highness Princess Kezang Wangmo Wanhchuk jointly inaugurated the Eye Bank at the National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, which will serve corneal patients and play an important role in addressing corneal blindness in Bhutan. To read more about the Eye Bank, please visit this link: http://www.kuenselonline.com/bhutan-embarks-on-eye-bank-venture/#.VMj3bmTF8Sg.
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