AHC Eye Specialists Visit Uzbekistan
On a July evening, the AHC eye clinic team appeared on national TV news in Uzbekistan. AHC’s Chief of Eye, Dr Khauv Phara, was being interviewed at the Ferghana Children’s Hospital. He had spent the day performing cataract surgeries on Uzbek children and training the local hospital staff. It was a scene that gave new meaning to AHC’s aims to impact global child health.
Dr Phara, and two members of the AHC eye clinic team, were in Uzbekistan to volunteer their paediatric ophthalmology knowledge and services as part of the Heart to Heart Paediatric Masterclass Program. Heart to Heart International, a partner organisation of AHC, work around the world to improve eye health. The 5-day programme focused on improving cataract surgery in the Ferghana Children’s Hospital.
“In the hospital we found the conditions to be similar to Cambodia,” said Dr Phara.”But they lacked the same equipment and hygiene standards we have back home.”Dr Phara, AHC Chief of Eye
During the visit, the team treated over 100 local patients and performed 25 cataract surgeries. They also hosted multiple training sessions for the local eye specialists, educating them so they can perform cataract surgery independently, giving the local children access to lifesaving surgery otherwise inaccessible in the region.
”Eighty percent of eye disease is curable or preventable,” said Dr Phara ”So the work we are doing here can really make a difference.”Dr Phara, AHC Chief of Eye
The AHC Eye Clinic, established in 2002, is just one of many speciality care departments offered at AHC, and not the only AHC department making an impact internationally. The Nurse Anaesthetist team have recently travelled to Laos where they trained local staff. Members of the AHC Social Work department often present at seminars and workshops throughout Asia to share their notable child abandonment processes with other organisations.
For Dr Phara and the team, the trip to Uzbekistan thrust them into a completely different environment to Cambodia. The landlocked Central Asian nation is incredibly arid and mountainous, with hot summers and harsh winters. Like many developing nations, the hospitals in Uzbekistan are over-crowded and health care is under-resourced, especially ophthalmology. Despite these challenges the team were able to replicate the same, simple AHC principles to the Uzbek setting: training basic techniques, following proven processes, and providing holistic care.
“The people were so friendly and welcoming. We hope to visit next year to continue the training and visit the friends we have made, even if it means I need to interview on national television again.”Dr Phara, AHC Chief of Eye