Program will lay the foundation for the establishment of pediatric ophthalmology in Cameroon, strengthen sub-speciality services and advocate for eye health care
October 14, 2013 (New York) – As part of ORBIS International's commitment to strengthen eye care services in Africa, the Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) - the world's only eye surgical and teaching hospital with wings, is visiting Cameroon to conduct an in-depth sub- specialty training program and serve as a building block for the establishment of pediatric ophthalmic services in the country. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the program will also help raise awareness and educate the public on eye care related conditions in Cameroon.
As part of its advocacy and public education initiative, ORBIS will use the Flying Eye Hospital program to host meetings and exchange ideas with key stakeholders including, government and public health officials, aimed at encouraging the development of eye care facilities and quality training programs.
“ORBIS has a proven record in delivering quality training programs using a comprehensive approach and effective partnerships,” said Lene Øverland, Director of Program for ORBIS Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We believe that with support and investment in pediatric ophthalmology Cameroon will not only develop quality and comprehensive services, but also serve as a model for Francophone Africa.”
ORBIS has received an invitation to establish a pediatric eye care unit at the soon to be built, Yaoundé Vision Institute. The Institute will aim to become a Center of Excellence for Eye Health and through a phased approach offer comprehensive ophthalmology services such as cataract and anterior segment surgical care, glaucoma evaluation and management, integrated diabetes services and pediatric ophthalmology. ORBIS has already started to support the development of these services by offering pediatric fellowships to promising Cameroonian doctors and by bringing the Flying Eye Hospital to Yaoundé.
“Providing specialized training services across the whole spectrum of eye health care professionals and promoting public awareness on preventable eye care conditions are important steps in addressing the burden of blindness in Cameroon,” said Dr. Ahmed Gomaa, Medical Director of the Flying Eye Hospital. “We are looking forward to this inaugural Flying Eye Hospital program in Yaoundé and in working with our partners to continue to deliverthe highest standards of training and eye care.”
The training component of the two – week program is aimed at supporting the greatest needs within the country and is focused on manual small incision cataract surgery (MSICS), medical retina, glaucoma and strabismus.
The training opportunities are not limited to Cameroonian ophthalmologists, but they extend to the whole ophthalmic community including nurses, anesthesiologists, biomedical engineers and allied health workers.Over the two week program, Cameroonian health professionals will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with ORBIS International staff and Volunteer Faculty, attend lectures and participate in workshops.
Some Facts on the Prevention and Impact of Blindness Worldwide:
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are approximately 285 million people who are visually impaired worldwide: 39 who are million are blind and 246 million who have low vision.
- About 90 percent of the world's visually impaired live in developing countries.
- Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment but in middle and low income countries cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness.
- Up to 80 percent of blindness causes and visual impairment can be avoided or cured with proper medical attention.
ORBIS is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide. ORBIS prevents and treats blindness through hands-on training, public health education, improved access to quality eye care, and partnerships with local health care organizations. By building long-term capabilities, ORBIS helps its partner institutions take action to reach a state where they can provide, on their own, quality eye care services that are affordable, accessible, and sustainable. To learn more about ORBIS, please visit www.ORBIS.org.
Phone: + 1 646-674-5512
1. WHO (2010). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/blindness/en/
2. WHO (2011). Factsheet N°282 Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/