The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, HCP’s legacy partner in Nepal, recently organized an Outreach Microsurgical Eye Clinic (OMEC) in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal, one of the world’s most remote places. Upper Mustang is hidden in the shadows of the Himalayas and for centuries was isolated from the rest of Nepal. Tilganga began working in this region in 2009.
During this most recent campaign, sight was restored to an elderly woman who had been blind for eight years and trekked to the campaign on horseback, accompanied by her 21-year-old grandson. Following bilateral surgery, the patient could see her grandson’s face, and proudly walked back to her home.
Another outreach event was held In early April by the Phaplu Community Eye Center (CEC), in the Solukumbo region of Nepal. 1,498 patients were examined and 80 cataract surgeries were provided. Run by a five-person staff, the Phaplu CEC is overseen by Tilganga and realized a 6% increase in patient care in 2013. The Himalayan Cataract Project is supporting the construction of the two-story, six-room community eye center, with help from the Nancy Allison Perkins Foundation, as the original Phaplu CEC had outgrown its facility. Construction is expected to be completed by June 2014.
Himalayan Cataract Project International Fellow Dr. Ben Thomas participated in an outreach event in a small town in the Dhading district of Nepal. Dr. Thomas worked alongside Dr. Anu Manandhar (former HCP fellow) of the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, and performed 30 surgeries. The outreach was sponsored by Tilganga and the Fred Hollows Foundation and held at a local school; surgeries and follow-up care were all performed within classrooms.
Outreach teams often reach inaccessible areas by foot and more often than not arrive to communities with no electricity and minimal sanitation and potable water. Within a matter of hours, the team can turn a dusty schoolhouse, or whatever building is available, into an equivalent medical ward where sight-restoring surgery is carried out to comparable standards found in the developed world.
Even in remote areas, the consistent goal of the team is to provide the highest quality eye care to as many people as possible and perform as many surgeries as possible. The eye camp ophthalmologists seek to treat everyone they can with a treatable eye disease.
In early September, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology outreach team, from Kathmandu, Nepal, with support from HCP and others, organized a microsurgical outreach clinic in Ladakh, India.
Four pre-surgery screenings were held, where over 1,370 patients were screened for cataracts. Local monks and organizations assisted with the screening process.
The outreach event provided over 180 successful cataract operations to patients came from five different regions in the Jammu/Kashimir region of mountainous India. Anitbiotic eye drops and bandages were provided to the patients post surgery and patients and family members were counseled on the care of the eyes. A mass eye health education program was also held on the day of patient discharge to ensure post-operative care.
To read an article about the outreach, please visit the following link from The Telegraph, an Australian newspaper: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/dr-sanduk-ruit-worked-with-australian-icon-fred-hollows-and-has-gone-on-to-perfect-his-technique-and-teach-it-to-the-world/story-fni0cx4q-1226714692730.
There will be more photos to come.
In May a life-changing eye clinic was held in the Samtse district in the southwestern region of Bhutan. The eye clinic was led by Bhutan’s first vitreo-retina specialist, HCP Fellow Dr. Bhim Rai. 1,300 patient screenings and 101 cataract surgeries were provided. Patients ranged in age from 17 to 100 and some were carried to the eye camps on homemade stretchers because their blindness was so debilitating.
The Himalayan Cataract Project is a critical supporter of eye care services in Bhutan. Through outreach eye clinics HCP is able to help people in destitute and rural areas that would normally not have access to high quality care.
Hetauda Community Eye Hospital (HCEH) in Nepal organized an outreach microscopic eye clinic in April. Patients were screened from five different locations, and 335 surgeries were performed. Himalayan Cataract Project Co-Directors Dr. Sanduk Ruit and Dr. Geoff Tabin, as well as Dr. Sanjita Sharma and Dr. Rachana Singh Rana from HCEH performed the surgeries.
HCEH is located in Southern Nepal and is a non-profit, sister organization of Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, which is also supported by the Himalayan Cataract Project. Through outreach microscopic eye clinics we are able to reach people in rural areas who would normally not have the ability to travel to the hospitals for treatment. By providing these outreach clinics, HCP is able to reach the most needy patients and provide high quality care, no matter their location or ability to pay.
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