In August, Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) partners at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), led by Dr. Seth Lartey, organized a cataract outreach event in the town of Aburi, which is located in the Eastern Region of Ghana. This involved weeks of screening of potential patients throughout the region, transportation of equipment and staff, and consecutive days of performing cataract surgeries from morning to night. All of that hard work was worth it, however, as the KATH team was able to provide 324 cataract surgeries to Ghanaians of all ages.
Among the many patients was a young boy who had developed a cataract in one of his eyes and was badly in need of surgery (pictured above). Upon having the bandage removed post-surgery, he said, “I feel normal, nobody will ask me about my eyes again. I am happy to go back to school. My friends won’t make fun of me anymore.”
The KATH team has been dedicated to steadily increasing their cataract outreach efforts in 2016. Including the event in Aburi, KATH has provided a total of 1,292 surgeries so far this year. This is more than double the 645 surgeries they provided via outreach events in all of 2015. It is an amazing accomplishment, and HCP looks forward to seeing them continue to grow in the upcoming years.
HCP and its partners are dedicated to eliminating unnecessary blindness due to cataracts. Cataract surgery is a relatively simple procedure that takes 10 minutes and approximately $25 in consumable costs. However, it is estimated that 50,000 cataract surgeries are required each year in Ghana to eliminate the backlog of those suffering from cataract blindness. There is still work to do, and HCP and KATH thank you for your continued support in this endeavor!
June thru September is Nepal's monsoon season. Heavy rains and limited infrastructure result in fewer local outreaches. Tilganga capitalizes on these lighter months to conduct on-going training and evaluation of its domestic projects as well as conduct hands-on training programs internationally.
Dr. Reeta Gurung, Chief Executive Officer of the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, recently returned from a hands-on corneal transplant workshop in Indonesia. Tilganga has been working with partners in Indonesia since 2012. In Indonesia, cornea transplant surgery is an uncommon surgery performed only by very few skilled eye surgeons. Dr. Gurung operated on the patients, assisted by local doctors Dr. Teguh Metaputra and Dr. Muhammad Irsan, both of whom had received cataract surgical training at Tilganga. Cornea tissue was sourced from the Nepal Eye Bank.
Tilganga’s Chief Training Officer, Krishna Shrestha, along with senior nurses Sharma Sobha and Shanti Bajraacherya, conducted a hands-on Train the Trainer (TOT) program for Ophthalmic Nurses in Ethiopia. Conducted during a high-volume cataract event at Arba Minch General Hospital in southern Ethiopia, the three Nepali trainers worked with 5 ophthalmic nurse managers from across Ethiopia to demonstrate best practices and outreach management techniques.
In Nepal, Tilganga’s outreach manager, Mr. Khim Gurung along with other trainers traveled to Manag Community Eye Center, one of six community eye centers supported by HCP. Tilganga’s community eye centers play a crucial role in providing basic eye care services and education to remote communities who otherwise would not have access to any ophthalmic care. During their 1 week stay, they conducted a site visit for an upcoming surgical outreach and provided training to 13 female community health volunteers (FCHV). Tilganga’s approach of training women in the community to conduct primary eye care screenings provides both a source of income as well as an effective means of reaching women and children who might otherwise be marginalized in more traditional rural communities.
Tilganga and HCP continue to be grateful to our supporters continual support and is thankful to report an active and productive monsoon training season!
HCP's main partner in Nepal, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology continues to work in rural communities to rebuild a stronger and safer Nepal. In Dolakha, epicenter of the second May 2015 earthquake, Tilganga is establishing landslide protection at a new prefabricated eye center recently installed by building boundary walls. These walls are built below the surface and are designed to prevent future landslides in the event of severe weather or natural disaster. In the days and weeks following the 2015 earthquakes, continuing aftershocks and subsequent landslides severely restricted aid and relief from reaching those who needed it most. These landslide walls will go a long way to ensuring the Dolakha community is safe.
At Tilganga’s 24th anniversary ceremony, Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology also recognized the challenges facing those closer to home in Kathmandu. While none of Tilganga’s staff members were killed or severely injured during the quake, however dozens saw their homes destroyed. Tilganga recently provided 40 rebuilding grants for staff members to rebuild or move. These grants ensure that Tilganga’s dedicated staff will continue to be able to provide high quality care and continue the relief efforts.
Tilganga and HCP greatly appreciate the support of our donors in continuing to ensure a stronger Nepali future!