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GONDAR PROJECT
Building eye care capacity in Gondar, Ethiopia

ORBIS has worked in Ethiopia for over 14 years to implement a model for comprehensive rural eye care focussing on capacity building, healthcare technology development and advocacy to address critical gaps in eye care.

ORBIS has worked in Ethiopia for over 14 years to implement a model for comprehensive rural eye care focussing on capacity building, healthcare technology development and advocacy to address critical gaps in eye care. Since 2011 ESCRS has supported ORBIS to develop a Paediatric Eye-Care Centre in Gondar Hospital. ESCRS funds have gone towards training resident ophthalmologists in sub-specialties such as paediatric cataract and glaucoma in order to be able to treat a wide range of paediatric eye conditions.

The latest installment of this training took place in October 2012 when ORBIS conducted a week-long hospital-based programme in Gondar. In a video which was recently posted on the ESCRS website, ORBIS volunteer and paediatric ophthalmologist Dr Donny Suh can be seen giving hands-on training to Dr Mulusew Asferaw, the head of the Paediatric Eye Care Unit at Gondar. This type of training is only possible thanks to the support of ESCRS members who since 2011 have donated over 70,000 to ORBIS and Oxfam.

Hands-on training
Dr Suh said that the trainees in Ethiopia would have access to videos and the Internet, but this did not compare with the trainees and their teachers working together in a close hands-on setting. "These doctors," said Dr Suh, "do not have access to a lot of the medical equipment that is available. Also, for the management of complicated cases, they do not know how to address them," he said. On the first day of training, Dr Suh screened and selected some of the complicated cases that Dr Asferaw would not be able to manage himself. On the following four days, Dr Asferaw carried out surgeries on the patients under Dr Suh's supervision. Dr Asferaw said hands-on training was very important. "It is not theoretical, it is a skill transfer and I can observe, assist and carry out some of the steps." The video, which is three minutes long, was photographed and produced by Geoff Oliver Bugbee for ORBIS International.

Project updates
As part of its support for ORBIS, ESCRS funded Dr Asferaw and his colleague Dr Asamere Tsegaw to attend the XXX ESCRS Congress in Milan, Italy in 2012.

ESCRS is also supporting the Oxfam Wash programme in Uganda in the Kitgum and Lamwo districts. Money donated by ESCRS to the project helps to strengthen the services provided by local government in a Community Based Water Resource Management programme. This is designed to enable the government and people to take responsibility for their own water and sanitation needs and performance in the future. This year, the ESCRS charitable donation will support a new Oxfam project in The Congo and EuroTimes will feature an update on this programme in our June issue. There will also be further opportunities to donate to the charities when delegates register for the XXXI ESCRS Congress in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

* The ORBIS video is available at: http:// www.escrs.org/charitable-donations/ news-updates.asp


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