“In 2014, Sight For All equipped the new Paediatric Ophthalmology Unit at Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh”
MAKING AN IMPACT IN CAMBODIA
Childhood Bindness Study 2009
In March 2009, a team from Sight For All undertook a survey of the four Schools for the Blind in Cambodia, working closely with their local colleagues in a training capacity. A total of 97 children were examined, with the majority having genetic causes of visual impairment and blindness. Half of all children had avoidable diseases , with measles being the leading cause of preventable blindness.
One quarter of the children required referral to the local ophthalmologist for further treatment, the majority requiring cataract surgery. Genetic samples were taken from a number of children with genetic eye diseases. The results of DNA testing are being used to determine causative genes that may help to understand and fight unavoidable blindness in Cambodia in the future. A new gene for childhood glaucoma has since been discovered from this study.
The optometric team prescribed 75 optical devices (40 spectacles and 35 low vision aids) that will enhance the education of these children, and Orientation & Mobility training was assessed at each of the schools.
Many thanks to the whole team – Dr James Muecke and Dr Michael Hammerton (Australian ophthalmologists), Dr Meng Ngy (Cambodian ophthalmologist), Ms Aimee Kong and Ms Anna Morse (Australian optometrists), Mr Horm Piseth (Cambodian optometrist), Mr Martin Holmes (Australian optical dispenser), Ms Carolyn Hamilton (Australian orientation & mobility instructor).
School Children Refractive Error Study 2010
In October-November 2010, Sight for All conducted a survey of school children in Cambodia. The primary aim was to determine the level of refractive error, or the need for glasses, in children aged 12 to 14 years. There were three teams working simultaneously with one team testing children in the urban area of Phnom Penh and the other two teams focusing on schools in the rural Kandal Province. Over 13 days, the team traveled to 36 schools and over 5500 child had their vision and glasses prescription tested. The level of refractive error in the urban areas was about 14%; children in the rural schools had a much lower rate, at about 4%.
Many thanks to all the team for their hard work. Special thanks to Dr Meng Ngy (Cambodian ophthalmologist), Dr James Muecke and Dr Zoe Gao (Australian ophthalmologists), Mr Horm Piseth (Cambodian optometrist), and Ms Aimee Kong, Ms Theresa Jnguyenphamhh and Ms Yalda Dehghan (Australian optometrists).
Sight For All’s team of Australian and NZ paediatric ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists have finished training two paediatric ophthalmologists, Dr Kheng and Dr Soleaphy, at Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh. Following completion of her training, Dr Kheng has become the first consultant paediatric ophthalmologist at the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital. Thanks to Novartis XOVA, the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh, The Lang Foundation and Wonderwork, who all helped to fund this initiative.
Drs Kheng and Soleaphy are now training their own Fellows. Dr Sim Sreylin from Preah Ang Duong Hospital and Dr Khoem Namgech from Calmette Hospital have been selected to undertake the Paediatric Ophthalmology Fellowship from 2020-2022. This Sustainable Education Project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
Sight For All’s team of Australian and NZ glaucoma specialists trained two Cambodian ophthalmologists, Dr Tharath and Dr Sophal in the management of glaucoma at Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh over a two-year period between in 2015-17.
With thanks to the generous support of the Geok Hua Wong Charitable Trust, Sight For All trained two oculoplastic specialists, Dr To Vicchey and Dr Theary.
Two retina specialists, Dr Long and Dr Leng, were trained by Sight For All’s Retinal team of Visionaries, with thanks to support from our major event, The Very Slow Long Lunch held in 2016.
Despite the inability for international travel resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Sight For All has continued in-country Fellowship Projects via online tutorials, lectures and webinars. We thank our devoted team of Visionaries for donating their time to deliver these tutorials on a monthly basis.
In 2014, Sight For All equipped the new Paediatric Ophthalmology Unit at Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh. The unit was supported by Novartis, XOVA, the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh, The Lang Foundation and Wonderwork.
Sight For All is currently equipping a second Paediatric Ophthalmology Unit at Calmette Hospital, with support from a very generous, private Australian donor.
In 2016 Sight For All donated a diode laser with indirect delivery system to aid in the management of retinopathy of prematurity in infants in Cambodia.
In 2016, Sight For All also donated a new Ellex SLT laser to enhance the treatment of glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Cambodia.