GHANA - UNMC Team Returns from Sight-Restoring Mission in Ghana
UNMC Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science’s Medical Director, Dr. Michael Feilmeier, volunteer faculty Dr. Jess Boysen and 3rd year ophthalmology resident Dr. Christine Larsen have returned from a weeklong surgical outreach trip in Kumasi, Ghana where they worked with partnered ophthalmic institutue Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (K.A.T.H.).
For the first part of their trip the UNMC team focused on teaching surgical techniques to faculty and residents at K.A.T.H., resulting in several hospital-wide and countrywide achievements.
Under the instruction of Drs. Michael Feilmeier and Seth Lartey (7) corneal transplants were completed within the first 72 hours in country. Dr. Feilmeier first introduced the corneal transplant surgical technique to Dr. Lartey in 2010 and it was on this last visit that Dr. Feilmeier determined that Dr. Lartey had mastered the technique and was ready to pass on his knowledge to one of K.A.T.H.’s residents which marked the 1st successful all-Ghanaian surgical team corneal transplant.
Meanwhile, Dr. Boysen performed the hospital’s 1st Ahmed glaucoma valve implant surgery and then went on to train and oversee the same surgery done for the 1st time in the history of Ghana by Ghanaian ophthalmologist Dr. Angela Ampong. Together they successfully completed (8) surgeries.
The second part of the trip focused on providing sight-restoring surgeries to patients found living needlessly blind in one or both of their eyes in the remote district of Joaboco. Over the course of 36 hours the UNMC team performed 40 sutureless extracapsular cataract surgeries, (8) of which were on patients who were bilaterally blind.
HAITI - With the help of a $2,500 Allergan grant a team from UNMC traveled to Cape Haitien, Haiti in May of 2012 to work at Justinien Hospital. The team conducted an International IRB study on First Sight, a newly developed technique designed to enable eye care workers with limited ophthalmic training to provide glasses with the correct prescriptions to patients suffering from refractive error, the leading cause of visual disability worldwide. Initial study results done in Nebraska showed that First Sight is equivalent to the gold standard of care and the same findings were found in Haiti. While in Haiti the team also conducted a cataract camp and trained local physicians phacoemulsification. The International Division would like to thank Allergan for their grant support of First Sight and Alcon Corporate Giving for the donation of a laureate phaco device that was donated for permanent use at Justinien Hospital as well as all of the riders who participated in the 2012 Bike for Sight.
NEPAL - The UNMC medical school curriculum committee approved the International Division of Ophthalmology’s new medical student elective, which will allow students to spend a month abroad observing at a partnered eye hospital in the developing world as part of their 4th year medical school curriculum. This past April, Russell Swan was the first 4th year medical student to take advantage of this new course. The International Division of Opthalmology arranged for Russell to spend a month observing at Tilganga Eye Institutue in Kathmandu, Nepal.
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