Working in partnership with Operation Eyesight Universal (OEU) in Ghana, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) managed a cataract surgical outreach in Akim Akroso in eastern Ghana from November 7 – November 11, 2016 at St. Theresa’s Hospital. Over the course of the week, the team provided 98 cataract surgeries and 17 pterygium surgeries. The surgical team included Dr. Boateng Wiafe (OEU), Dr. Akwasi Ahmed (KATH), Dr. John Welling (HCP), Dr. Eric Hansen (HCP Fellow), Dr. Joseph Kwarteng (KATH 2nd year resident), Dr. Mercy Dawson (local cataract surgeon), Dr. John Pajka (Ohio), Dr. Michael Yim (3rd year Bascom Palmer resident), Dr. Kristen Mendoza (1st year Ohio State resident) and Mr. Nabin Rai (Medical Coordinator from Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, Nepal). In addition to performing surgeries, senior staff capitalized on the opportunity to train ophthalmology residents in small incision cataract surgery.
St. Theresa’s Hospital is a new facility, positioned between Accra and Kumasi, built as a partnership between Ohio State University and a Dutch non-profit organization. Much of the advanced screening was carried out by Dinah, an ophthalmic nurse from St. Theresa’s, and the follow-up will be managed by Dr. Mercy Dawson and Dinah.
Over the course of 10 days, partners from the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Nepal traveled to Myanmar to work with local ophthalmologists to provide over 500 sight-restoring surgeries, 60 in Yangon and 482 in Phyu.
In addition to the surgeries provided, the surgical interventions are a unique training opportunity for local doctors and trainees. Ten ophthalmologists participated in hands-on surgical training in Yangon with an additional 20 observing, and nine ophthalmologists participated in Phyu.
The Himalayan Cataract Project began working in Myanmar in 2014, when the government of Myanmar invited HCP co-founder, Dr. Sanduk Ruit, to strengthen the country’s ophthalmic capacity. To help these efforts, HCP successfully secured a USAID grant to provide state-of-the-art equipment for the Yangon Eye Hospital. HCP also supports the training of eye care personnel at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology and additional locations.
A full story of HCP’s work in Myanmar is featured in USAID’s Frontlines news, How to Start a Medical Revolution.
In the days following the April 2015 earth, Dr. Sanduk Ruit, Nepal’s leading ophthalmologist and co-founder of the Himalayan Cataract Project, remarked,
“This is one of the worst natural disasters in my lifetime. There are thousands who have been left homeless in many parts of Nepal where life is much more difficult…We at Tilganga and the Nepalese people are moved by your generosity, faith, and love for the work we are doing.”
18 months later, the Himalayan Cataract Project and Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO) continue to be amazed and moved by our donors’ support, faith and love. Over the course of this project, nearly $12,000 were raised by our Global Giving donors allowing the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology relief teams to deliver critical food aid and temporary shelter to 8 of the hardest hit regions in Nepal. Over 170,000 lbs. of food were delivered throughout rural Nepal as well as basic supplies including 2,600 tarps for temporary shelter, medicine, oral rehydration solution, soap, and flashlights. Tilganga’s own doctors and staff dedicated their time and energy to delivering these critical necessities to the villages they know so well through their ophthalmologic work.
Following the initial relief, TIO continued with phase II of its recovery plan – the repairing of damaged Community Eye Centers and building of temporary shelters in three of the hardest hit regions. This includes repairs to the Dolakha Community Eye Center and construction of a landslide retaining wall to prevent further damage in the event of future earthquakes or natural disasters. Over 110 temporary living shelters were completed to provide housing for local residents. Tilganga also provided reconstruction grants to members of its own staff who lost their houses in the earthquake to allow staff the ability to rebuild or move.
Tilganga will continue to lead the way for Nepal’s reconstruction – the work is far from over. However, the past 18 months has demonstrated the strength of the Nepalese people and their remarkable ability to overcome challenges. The Himalayan Cataract Project and Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology greatly appreciate the support of all our donors in ensuring a stronger Nepal and will continue to live up to your generosity, faith, and love through our ongoing work in Nepal and throughout the world.