Our 2016 successes so far...
In March, Dr James Muecke delivered paediatric ophthalmology equipment to be used by Drs Rahman and Jayfari at the Ophthalmic Society of Bangladesh Hospital in Dhaka. The equipment, including vision testing and diagnostic equipment for the clinic, and surgical instruments, was generously funded by Santos.
Travelling with Dr Muecke was Adelaide-based filmmaker, Ms Lara Damiani from Think Films. Whilst in Bangladesh, Lara spent time in the clinic and operating theatre at the National Institute of Ophthalmology capturing stories of patients with retinoblastoma and their families. Lara is using the footage from Bangladesh and her time with Dr Muecke in Vietnam, to produce our next short film.
L-R Prof Enayet Hossain (Sec General OSBH), Prof Milly Shakoor
(Community Ophthalmologist BNIO), Andrew DeGaris (Santos Bangladesh Manager),
Mahmud Karim (Santos Bangladesh Country Lead) Dr James Muecke (Sight For All Chairman).
With support from The Wood Foundation, we were able to purchase a Spectra 532nm laser with Keeler indirect ophthalmoscope, to be used at the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital (KSFH) in the treatment of ROP and other diseases of the retina. Our thanks to Dr Craig Donaldson who will be transporting the laser to Phnom Penh when he travels there in July to conduct the final assessment of the Cambodia Paediatric Fellowship. Travelling with Dr Donaldson will be Dr Todd Maddock, an anaesthetist from Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Whilst in Cambodia, Dr Maddock will provide support to the paediatric ophthalmology anaesthetic services in Phnom Penh.
Over the two years that the Cambodia Paediatric Fellowship has been running, our Visionaries have delivered 38 lectures and supervised 42 clinic sessions and 24 surgical procedures. We have applied for funding to enable one of the fellows, Dr Kheng, to spend three months in Adelaide undertaking a paediatric ophthalmology observership and low vision training.
The Cambodia Glaucoma Fellowship is now in its second year, with an anticipated completion date of May 2017. We thank Drs Guy D’Mellow and Tu Tran who have this year participated in the training of our Glaucoma Fellows Drs Sophal and Tharath.
Retina specialist, Dr John Downie, travelled to KSFH in February to conduct a capacity assessment for our Cambodia Retinal Fellowship due to commence in 2017. Whilst in Phnom Penh, Dr Downie also conducted some retinal teaching. Ophthalmic nurse Ms Mardi Smith spent a week at KSFH, at the same time as John, undertaking fundus photography training.
Ms Mardi Smith training colleagues at KSFH in fundus photography
In April, an Ellex Tango Laser, with YAG and SLT capability, was transported to Lao for use at the National Ophthalmology Centre (NOC) in Vientiane. This equipment was purchased with funds gratefully received by the Lang Foundation. Thanks also to Ellex for their generous discount.
The Lao Paediatric Ophthalmology Fellowship for Dr Phayvanh is continuing slowly but surely. Our thanks to Drs Shaheen Shah, Justin Mora and Hughie Tsang who have already contributed to this fellowship in 2016 .
We are currently liaising with our colleagues at NOC to enable Dr Phayvanh to conduct a three month observership with A/Prof James Elder at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne from August until December. Our thanks to Prof Elder for hosting Dr Phayvanh during this time.
In addition to her fundus photography training in Cambodia, ophthalmic nurse Ms Mardi Smith also undertook follow up training in Lao. Mardi had previously conducted photography training at NOC in 2015. Mardi was with Dr Alex Hunyor as part of the Lao Retina Fellowship. Dr Hunyor took with him an indirect laser for the Retina Unit at NOC. Our thanks to Dr Hunyor and Dr Adrian Fung who have travelled to Lao as part of this project in 2016. Dr Fung was recently asked to comment on his week in Lao:
“It's pleasing to see that Sight for All's efforts are having concrete benefits for eye patients in Vientiane, Laos. Since I was last here, there is now a B-scan ultrasound, wide-field retinal camera and new OCT machine. All of these pieces of equipment make it so much easier to diagnose and treat patients. The staff are as friendly as ever and remain enthusiastic to learn.”
L-R Dr Khamkhoune, Dr Adrian Fung, Dr Siphetthavong
Drs Siphetthavong and Phompanya have continued to embrace the teaching being provided to them as part of the Lao Oculoplastics Fellowship. Dr Siphetthavong has shared data that indicates that he has treated 1200 patients in the clinic and 228 in the operating theatre over the past 12 months. Our thanks to Drs Saul Rajak and Charles Su who have travelled to Lao for this project in 2016.
Dr Charles Su teaching in theatre
We have been nominated by the APAO to coordinate the Gateway Project in Lao. The project aims to coordinate support to reduce the prevalence of visual disability and blindness in the region by creating partnerships between countries and organisations.
Sight For All Vice Chair, Professor Bob Casson, along with Dr Cesar Carrillo and volunteer scientist Mr Stephen Nygaard, have been planning our comprehensive epidemiological study in Vientiane. Commencing in late June, the study will determine the prevalence and causes of blindness and visual impairment in Vientiane.
It is with much anticipation that we await the arrival in July of Dr Aye Moe Htet, our first corneal Fellow. Dr Htet will undertake her 12-month fellowship at Royal Adelaide Hospital under the guidance of Dr Mark Chehade.
Prof John Crompton has been coordinating our first in-country neuro-ophthalmology fellowship for Myanmar. The fellowship will see two fellows trained, one from Yangon Eye Hospital and another from Mandalay Eye & ENT Hospital. Prof Crompton has enlisted the support of 12 Australian neuro-ophthalmologists who will travel to Myanmar each month commencing in July 2016. We thank Prof Crompton for his support in coordinating and participating in this project.
We are delighted to be working with Prof Gerard Sutton and the team coordinating the Mandalay Corneal Surgical Training and Eye Bank Program. Sight For All's involvement is assisting with in the coordination of the in-country training component of the program.
Our fellows at the Yangon Eye Hospital are very enthusiastic in sharing their patient data with us. Some of that data includes:
Dr Than Htun Aung, Paediatric Ophthalmologist: 20,000 children treated each year.
Dr Khine Su, Oculoplastics specialist: 130 surgeries from June 2014 to September 2015.
Dr May Ko Ko Thet, Glaucoma specialist: 305 glaucoma cases treated from April to November 2015.
Dr San Myint, Retina specialist: 2,535 retina surgeries from August 2007 to August 2015.
Drs Aung, Thet, Myint and Su are now training their own fellows in the sub-specialty areas of paediatric ophthalmology, glaucoma, retina and oculoplastics respectively.
L-R Drs Tin Mg Thant, Khine Su, San Hlaing Min, San Myint, Than Htun Aung, May KoKo Thet,
Ko Ko Lin, Aye Moe Htet
With support from the Australian Government’s Direct Aid Program, we were able to purchase a portable autorefractor-keratometer along with an iCare tonometer and gonio infant lens. This equipment is now being used by Dr Tavisha Udupihille, our Paediatric Ophthalmologist at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Children’s Hospital in Kandy.
Dr Cesar Carrillo testing the hand held autorefractor-keratometer
We were delighted to win a grant from the Allergan International Foundation for our Vietnam Glaucoma Fellowship. Our colleagues from VNIO in Hanoi are currently selecting candidates to undertake this fellowship that will commence in 2017.
In March, Dr James Muecke travelled to Vietnam to undertake follow up training in the management of retinoblastoma at VNIO. Dr Muecke was delighted with the progress of retinoblastoma specialists Drs Chau and Tran. Lara Damiani accompanied Dr Muecke in Vietnam, capturing photographs and video to showcase the work of Sight For All. Please click here to watch Lara's incredible film about baby Chi who received treatment for retinoblastoma at VNIO.
Dr Mark Chehade will be in Hanoi in July to conduct the final assessment of the Vietnam Corneal Fellowship that was conducted throughout 2015.
Film maker Lara Damiani in theatre at VNIO