2015 - The Year in Review
Due to the political unrest in Bangladesh during 2015, two trips planned in February and then again in October were forced to be cancelled. As such, Drs James Muecke and Glen Gole plan to travel in early 2016 to deliver the paediatric equipment for the Ophthalmic Society of Bangladesh Hospital in Dhaka and to spend time with our fellows Drs Jayfari and Rahman.
With support from the Australian Government’s Direct Aid Program, Sight For All was able to provide our glaucoma fellow, Dr Deki, with a new Humphrey Visual Field Analyser to use at the Central Regional Referral Hospital in Gelephu.
The Cambodia Paediatric In-Country Fellowship for Drs Kheng and Soleaphy at Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital (KSFH) is almost at its conclusion. Four Visionaries, Drs Stuart Carroll, Geoff Lam, Hughie Tsang and Kim Tan have participated in this project during 2015. Following two visits in early 2016 and a period of time training in Australia, Dr Craig Donaldson will undertake the final project assessment in early 2017.
Drs Simon Phipps, Lance Liu, Ridia Lim and Ashish Agar travelled to Phnom Penh in 2015 for the Cambodia Glaucoma In-Country Fellowship for Drs Sophal and Tharath. Dr Lim took with her a pachymeter for Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital (KSFH) donated by Vision 1000.
The Lao Paediatric In-Country Fellowship for Dr Phaivan commenced in May this year at the National Ophthalmic Centre (NOC). Our thanks to Drs Shaheen Shah, Justin Mora, Michael Forrest, Joanna Black and James Elder for your support of this fellowship in 2015. Following critical feedback from our Visionaries, collaboration with an anaesthetic support team from Tasmania has commenced.
Six teaching trips were conducted by Drs Adrian Fung, Rohan Essex, Tim Isaacs, Trevor Gin and Alex Hunyor in 2015 for the Lao Retinal In-Country Fellowship. Dr Tim Isaacs took with him an indirect ophthalmascope plus 20D and 28 lenses for NOC when he travelled in May. Our thanks to Dr Alex Huynor for setting up the Dropbox which has been most useful in terms of communicating with the team and for transporting much-needed consumables for vitreo-retinal surgery. In late November, Dr Rohan Essex took with him a beam splitter for the teaching arm of the slit lamp in the laser room and additional supplies to be used in theatre. The fellowship has been very successful with six trips scheduled for 2016.
In support of the retinal fellowship, Sight For All’s major event, The Very Slow Long Lunch held in Adelaide in September, raised over $70,000. This enabled the purchase of two argon lasers for the regional eye centres in Savannakhet and Champasak in southern Lao. Dr Jim Runciman travelled to these centres in early December to set up the lasers and provide training to the local ophthalmologists. The availability of these lasers will enable early treatment for the increasing number of diabetic patients appearing in these local communities.
Ophthalmic Nurse Mardi Smith from Adelaide provided fundus photography training at NOC in September. Mardi was in Vientiane at the same time as Dr Alex Hunyor .The training was so successful that Mardi will be conducting the same program in Cambodia in early 2016.
Our thanks to Drs Charles Su, Richard Hart, Brian Sloan and Tom Hardy who travelled to Vientiane in 2015 for the Lao Oculoplastics In-Country Fellowship for Drs Siphett and Phompanya. This very successful project has resulted in the treatment of patients who have presented with eyelid and orbital tumours and enabled the provision of treatment for trauma-related injuries.
Ophthalmic Theatre Nurse, Siew Kim Teo travelled with Dr Cesar Carrillo to Vientiane in July. Siew trained the nursing staff at NOC in sterilisation procedures and techniques and classification of equipment trays for specific surgeries. Dr Carrillo was in Lao teaching residents basic ophthalmology concepts.
Dr Tin Mg Thant has returned to Mandalay Eye & ENT Hospital (MEENTH) after completing his year-long paediatric fellowship with Dr Than Htun Aung at Yangon Eye Hospital (YEH). This was Sight For All’s first In-Country Collaborative Fellowship. With thanks to the support of the Australian Government, Sight For All was able to equip Dr Thant’s clinic at MEENTH. This equipment was transported in October and as such the clinic is now fully operational.
Dr San Hlaing Min returned to YEH in July following his year-long Vitreo-Retinal Fellowship at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Along with our former VR fellow, Dr San Myint, Dr Min is now training three VR fellows for other regions of Myanmar.
Dr Stephen McGovern travelled to Myanmar in January this year to conduct a workshop prior to the Master Course exams for trainees and A/Prof Henry Newland spent a week at YEH and MEENTH in early June conducting further teaching for four VR fellows.
Dr Cesar Carrillo attended the National Stakeholder Meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw in July. This meeting allowed Sight For All to participate in the planning of eye health activities in Myanmar for the next 5 years.
Sight For All’s first In-Country Contact Lens Training Program was hugely successful. Optometrist Minh Anh from the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO) was provided with extensive training in the fitting of contact lenses to infants following cataract surgery and adults with irrgeular corneas.
The Vietnam Corneal In-Country Fellowship has seen eleven Visionary teaching trips this year. Thank you to Drs Mark Chehade, Elsie Chan, Tess Huynh, Steph Watson, Grant Snibson, Alex Poon, Anthony Maloof, Graham Lee, John Males, Laurie Sulivan and Andrew Apel. Drs Sam, Thuy and Phuong have been receiving hands-on training which has provided them with expertise for the treatment of corneal conditions which are a common blinding problem in Vietnam. The post fellowship assessment will be conducted by Dr Chehade in mid-2016.