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Royal Bournemouth Hospital eye expert teaches sight saving techniques in Kenya

6 September

A consultant ophthalmologist from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH) has visited Kenya to deliver specialist eye-care training in an effort to reduce avoidable blindness in Africa.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports approximately 26.3 million people in the African region have a form of visual impairment. Of these, 20.4 million have low vision and 5.9 million are estimated to be blind.

Despite the availability of cost-effective treatments for most causes of avoidable blindness, a shortage of eye-care services means millions of people in Africa remain at risk from vision-loss owing to cataracts, uncorrected refractive errors, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, corneal opacities, diabetic retinopathy, trachoma and onchocerciasis.

Ben Parkin, consultant ophthalmologist at RBH, joined a team of eye-care specialists from around the UK to visit Kenya and offer health professionals working in Juba, South Sudan, free training in the latest eye-care techniques.

The visit took place as part of ‘Juba Vision 2020’ - an initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness in the country by 2020.

Owing to political instability in the region, the training took place in neighbouring Kenya and was attended by health professionals from surrounding countries, so it is hoped patients from across central, eastern and southern Africa will benefit.

To support Ben to deliver the training effectively, RBH donated several refurbished iPads to the cause, so trainees could have access to inter-active technology and review state-of-the-art eye-care techniques.

Ben said: “I have been part of the Juba Vision 2020 initiative for several years now and it’s fantastic to be sharing new techniques and methods of training with our colleagues in areas where there is a lot of avoidable blindness. This work will make a real difference to the lives of patients and that is truly exciting.”

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