Kingston, Jamaica, April 6, 2005
– Medical technology engineers and technicians from around the Caribbean have been invited to Jamaica from April 11 -15 for a special training session on ophthalmic equipment. Approximately 36 regional participants will attend the intensive 1-week workshop, organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Ministry of Health of Jamaica, American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE) and ORBIS International.
"Eye care depends on technology. If ophthalmic equipment is not taken care of properly, then fewer blind and visually impaired people will have access to the treatments that could potentially restore their sight," explained Ismael Cordero, ORBIS healthcare technology specialist and workshop organizer. Costly medical equipment is often donated to less affluent nations by corporations and international charities. However most donors fail to take into account the cost of consumables, training and maintenance, which ORBIS estimates at being 5-10% of the total cost of the equipment per year.
The World Health Organization estimates that 50% of medical equipment in the developing world is currently not functioning properly. Precise data is not available for Latin America and the Caribbean, but PAHO and regional governments have identified this as an area of concern and are actively working to address the problem.
Given the high-cost of medical equipment and seeing that the majority of malfunctioning equipment can be rehabilitated for a fraction of the cost of replacement, PAHO and its partners are using this workshop as a forum for developing new strategies to ensure that sight- and life-saving medical equipment can be repaired quickly using local expertise.
The first three days of the workshop, which will be held at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, will focus on healthcare technology management and will be led by experts recruited by PAHO from the American College of Clinical Engineering. Building on this foundation, ORBIS will bring faculty from Alcon Labs, Scan Optics and the Aravind Eye Hospital in India for a closer look at the ophthalmic equipment at three local hospitals during the last two days of this workshop.
The workshop participants will be encouraged to share their challenges and successes in supporting medical technology. From these insights and assessments, the workshop organizers hope to develop a regional strategy to strengthen the clinical engineering and healthcare technology management in the Caribbean, and to raise the understanding of eye problems and the technology required to treat them.
works collaboratively with governments in the Americas to improve the health and the quality of life of people of the Americas. It is the Regional Office for World Health Organization in the Americas.
is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to preserving and restoring sight. Through innovative programs and partnerships, ORBIS engages in long-term, sustainable solutions to prevent blindness and visual impairment which focus on the training of medical personnel, the strengthening of eye care institutions and the expansion of capacity to deliver high quality services in those parts of the world where the need is greatest. ORBIS recently teamed with the government of Jamaica to strengthen the ophthalmology department at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, which is the only tertiary hospital for children in the English-speaking Caribbean.
Marion Pottinger, Administrative Officer, PAHO/WHO, 2-4 King Street, Kingston, Jamaica Tel: +1-876-967-4626 / Cell: +1-997-5850
Brooke Johnson, ORBIS International, +1 (646)674-5532, firstname.lastname@example.org