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Visionary Newsletter

December 2015


Thank you from Sight For All 

 
As another year comes to a close, it is with much gratitude that I thank you, our team of Visionaries, for your commitment, enthusiasm and generosity in helping to make our In-Country Fellowships and other projects so successful. In this newsletter we share with you our many achievements throughout 2015 and our plans for the coming year.

This newsletter also introduces you to our small but effective staff team - Judy, Cesar and Leanne all have a significant role to play in the coordination of our projects. The key functions of the team are outlined below, and will assist you in being aware of who to contact for particular aspects of each project.

In September this year we launched our new website. Along with this has been the development of a new Visionary login section which unfortunately has taken longer than anticipated to have up and running for you to use. We do, however, plan to have this ready by mid-January and will advise you of the login and access details via email. In addition to the new login section of the website, we have also been working on a new Visionary report form. This form will be easier for you to complete and upload while also providing us with greater assistance in collecting the required data we need for our reporting processes.


Our projects continue to be funded through the generosity of our sponsors, supporters, corporate trusts, major donors and the general public. The Australian Government, through the Direct Aid Program, has funded vital equipment needed in Myanmar. Key events held in 2015, The Very Slow Long Lunch, One Night For Sight, Friends For Sight and One Day For Sight have collectively raised over $100,000 to fund necessary equipment and assist in funding some of our educational projects. Membership of Sight For All’s social impact investment initiative, Vision 1000, has continued to grow with 122 Vision 1000 Members, 9 Vision 100 Members and 1 Vision 10 Member. I thank those of you who have joined Vision 1000. Through your support, Sight For All has become a sustainable organisation, ensuring continuation of our sight-saving work well into the future. I encourage those of you who have not yet joined, to consider doing so. Please visit our website or contact Judy Bickmore to find out more.

I am sure you will be inspired and encouraged as you read our plans for 2016, and I look forward to your involvement in these activities. Thank you again for being part of our wonderful sight-saving team. My best wishes to you and your families for a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

Dr James Muecke
Chairman
Sight For All 


 

Introducing the team


Judy Bickmore - Executive Officer


Judy joined the Sight For All team in January 2014. As the organisation’s Executive Officer, Judy reports to the Board of Directors and works across all areas of the organisation from marketing, fundraising & major events to developing & implementing operational processes, sector liaison, governance and financial management. From a project perspective, Judy assists with in-country liaison, writing funding proposals and works with Cesar and Leanne to ensure all aspects of projects are running smoothly. Judy welcomes feedback from Visionaries to ensure we are continuing to improve our projects. Please contact Judy if you have any comments.
 

Dr Cesar Carrillo - Ophthalmic Public Health Fellow


Originally from Colombia, Cesar is an ophthalmologist with a Masters in Public Health & International Development who moved to Australia with his family in 2010. Cesar has been with Sight For All since March 2014. In his first year with us, Cesar developed a curriculum for teaching residents at the National Ophthalmology Centre in Vientiane, Lao. For the past 9 months, Cesar has been managing our In-Country Fellowship Projects, and as such has been in touch with many of you. Cesar has been working on improving our program management documents and, as an ophthalmologist himself, brings to the team valuable clinical knowledge as well as public health and international development experience. Cesar is responsible for ordering equipment that Visionaries have identified as being needed, liaises with you regarding project rosters and curriculae, communicates with our fellows regarding data collection, and liaises with our in-country colleagues. Cesar can be contacted via email on carrillorozo@gmail.com
 

Leanne Harms - Finance/Office Coordinator

 
Leanne has been Sight For All’s Finance/Office Coordinator for the past 18 months after joining the team in June 2014. Leanne is responsible for our finance functions such as accounts payable & receivable and is your go-to person for planning travel to our partner countries. Leanne is in touch with you via email in the lead up to trips and ensures that all of you required paperwork has been received. Leanne liaises with our travel company ‘Travel Associates‘ and ensures that our colleagues are aware of your arrival details.  Leanne works in the office part time (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday) and can be contacted via email on admin@sightforall.org
 

Sight For All Board of Directors

The constitution of Sight For All ensures that ophthalmic health care professionals represent 50% of the Board of Directors. Dr James Muecke (ophthalmologist), Professor Bob Casson (ophthalmologist), Dr Nick Andrew (ophthalmology registrar) and Mr Gavin O'Callaghan (optometrist) provide valuable leadership for the organisation allowing for a comprehensive, sustainable and evidence-based approach to all projects.

Ms Susi Tegen, Mr Phil Jaquillard, Mrs Melissa Emmett and Mr Michael Fotheringham provide valuable business, financial, marketing and legal advice and make up the remaining four Board positions. 


Back row - Mr Michael Fotheringham, Mr Gavin O'Callaghan, Prof Bob Casson, Dr Nick Andrew, Mr Phil Jaquillard
Front row - Ms Susi Tegen, Dr James Muecke, Mrs Melissa Emmett

 

2015 - The Year in Review 


Bangladesh

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.

Bhutan

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.

Cambodia

The Cambodia P
aediatric 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.
 
 
Lao

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.

Myanmar

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.

Vietnam

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. 

 

Looking ahead to 2016

 
We are excited to share with you our plans for 2016:

Bangladesh
  • We are hopeful that Dr Mahmooda Rahman will commence her Paediatric Ophthalmology Fellowship in Australia for a twelve month period.
Cambodia
  • Dr Kheng from Phnom Penh will undertake a three-month Paediatric Ophthalmology Observership and Low Vision Training Course in Australia in late 2016.
  • With the support of a private trust fund, we hope to purchase an indirect laser and OCT to support the upcoming Cambodia Retinal In-Country Fellowship at KSFH in the first half of next year.  
Lao
  • The Lao Paediatric Opthalmology In-Country Fellowship for Dr Phayvnah will continue in 2016 with six more teaching trips planned for NOC. We hope to be able to combine the trips with support from a team of paediatric anaesthetists.
  • In addition, Dr Phayvanh will be undertaking a Paediatric Ophthalmology Observership in Melbourne with Dr James Elder toward the end of the year.
  • The Lao Retinal In-Country Fellowship for Dr Khamkhoune will continue with an expected completion date of September.
  • We are in the process of purchasing a new YAG-SLT laser to enhance glaucoma management at NOC.
  • The Lao Oculoplastic In-Country Fellowship for Drs Siphett and Phompanya will involve five more teaching trips in 2016.
  • Prof Bob Casson is leading the Sight For All research team in the coordination of the Vientiane component of the National Blindness Study which will be continue in 2016.
Myanmar
  • Dr Aye Moe Htet from Yangon will be undertaking a 12 months hands-on Corneal Fellowship at the Royal Adelaide Hospital commencing early in the New Year.
  • We will be commencing a Neuro-Ophthalmology In-Country Fellowship at YEH. This fellowship to commence mid-year is being coordinated by Sight For All Visionary, A/Prof John Crompton, with training of a fellow each from YEH and MEENTH.
  • Dr Than Htun Aung, Paediatric Ophthalmologist from Yangon, and an optometrist from YEH, will undertake a Low Vision Training Course in Adelaide late 2016.
  • Dr Than Htun Aung will commence training his second Paediatric Ophthalmologist, Dr Khine Nweni, at YEH.
  • Ophthalmology equipment for 7 Secondary Eye Centres will be purchased through funds raised by One Night For Sight held in September 2015.
Vietnam
  • Our colleagues from VNIO have requested a Glaucoma In-Country Fellowship Program. We hope this project will commence in late 2016.


 

Christmas Wishes
 

The Sight For All team extends to you our best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and good health and happiness in the New Year.

 

Thank you for your support throughout 2015 and we look forward to working with you in 2016 as together we work towards our aim of Sight For All. 

 



 


Sight For All saves sight, saves lives and alleviates poverty.

Sight For All will volunteer more than 10,000 medical hours this year alone.
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