Alliance Retina International
In 2005, we organized what is still one of the only third world retina programs in a world that is served by hundreds of cataract programs. Working with The Institute for Latin American Concern and Dr. Sebastian Guzman in Santiago, Dominican Republic, we have done over a thousand major retinal surgeries, all without cost to patients thanks to funding from The Jairus Foundation and considerable generosity from Alcon Labs and other technology vendors. We are currently working with The Notre Dame University Keough School for Global Affairs and more recently SEE International to expand the program to other countries. Our goal is to offer a “packaged” retinal service to local medical communities and to pre-existing cataract programs that serve such communities.
Historically, third world retinal surgery projects have been very rare compared to the numerous cataract programs throughout the world. This has been largely because of the logistical difficulties involved. Over the last 10 years, we have addressed all of that. As a result, we have created a program that we are now transplanting to other areas, incorporating retinal services into other pre-existing community health communities. Click Here for the video.
The task is daunting. There are 7 billion people in the world and conservatively, 5 billion of them have no access to retinal care. Aside from retinal detachments and such, diabetic retinal disease and Retinopathy of Prematurity are becoming rampant in many third world communities. The Alliance Retina International team is working with Retina Global, The University of Notre Dame, and SEE International to bring retinal services to increasingly more areas. This video addresses some of the main issues.
The model is simple in some ways yet complex in others. The simple part is knowing that we are nothing more than a resource, getting to know our hosts, and trusting them to help us fit in. The complex part is the preparations, the due diligence, nurturing the relationships, and always keeping an open mind. To do that, we are engaged in a continuous process to engineer and re-engineer clinical and communications capabilities. Some of this is described in the presentation to the right.