THE GEORGETOWN Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) on Monday said it would be hosting a team from Orbis International – an International NGO involved in Eye Care.
The team will conduct training in the Ophthalmology Department to deal with Diabetic Retinopathy.
This training is part of a three-year Guyana Diabetes Care Project (GDCP) and is made possible through the collaboration of the World Diabetes Foundation, Orbis International, University of Toronto; Orbis International, Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation and the Ministry of Public Health.
The GDCP came about after the successful completion of the first project involving Diabetes Foot Care. The GDCP will concentrate on care for diabetics in two new areas – Diabetic Retinopathy (Eye Complications of the Diabetics); Diabetes in Pregnancy and Strengthening Health Information Systems in collection of Data on Diabetes in Guyana.
The Diabetic Retinopathy Programme
The establishment of the Guyana Diabetic Retinopathy Programme (a subsidiary of the Guyana Diabetes Care Project) will introduce for the first time in Guyana easy access to all diabetics to have their eyes screened/checked for Diabetic Eye Complications. Usually diabetics begin to have changes in their eyes and are not aware of these changes.
The only method of detecting these changes in the past was an annual eye examination by an Ophthalmologist. The project will now enable GPHC to introduce a modern method of detecting eye complications – that is to have digital retinal photos taken of the inside of the eye.
These photos will then be interpreted by highly trained eye care professionals, who will then grade the stage of retinopathy. Patients can book their appointments for testing through the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/eyeguyana or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also walk-in to book appointments or for opportunistic screening on the same day.
This programme is also being developed to offer laser treatment to patients. Over the past two years this project was being developed and put into place at the GPHC Eye Clinic and is being led by the Head of Ophthalmology Department, Dr. Shailendra Sugrim.
The main donor is the World Diabetes Foundation which helped to procure expensive retinal cameras, ophthalmological examination instruments and also for the first time in the public system, a retinal laser to treat patients who have severe diabetic eye complications. The programme will also be embarking on spreading awareness to physicians and the public about diabetic eye complications; training of medical professionals on the various diabetic eye complications and how and when to refer patients for testing and also, in managing essential data on diabetic eye complications.
The Orbis Training
This year Orbis International will be lending support by training ophthalmologists and nurses via a Hospital Based training programme lasting one-week. Two ophthalmologists will be trained to perform laser treatment on patients with diabetic retinopathy that require treatment. This will be done by Dr. Hardeep Dhindsa, a retinal surgeon from Nevada, USA who is a part of the distinguished faculty of Orbis Volunteers. The two ophthalmologists will be guided on how to examine and recognize complications of diabetes in the eye and how to treat these patients with laser. This training will be done at the Eye Clinic where a newly acquired laser is present.
The Orbis team comprises a highly qualified nurse, RN Elisa Urruchi from Peru. She will be conducting a workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday for nurses. This workshop will focus on “Key Nursing Skills to deal with Diabetes and the Eye”. A total of 30 nurses will be trained in two batches over the two days. Nurse Urruchi will also be training eight nurses during a two-day course on “Basic Ophthalmic Theatre Nursing” on Thursday and Friday in the Eye Theatre at the GPHC.
The third member of the team is Ms Amelia Geary, who is the Orbis Director of Programme Development. For the GDCP, Orbis also supported training of the Clinical Director to attend a management course in India; training of one Biomedical Technician on how to deal with eye equipment and facilitating attendance of four Ophthalmologists to the annual American Academy of Ophthalmology Conference in the USA. Over the next three years, Orbis will continue to support training of various eye care professionals involved in the project.