James Muecke on behalf of Sight For All, Ltd., Australia




Facilitating two years of hands-on training for three pediatric ophthalmologists and equipping their local centers with surgical instruments and diagnostic equipment


The project

Approximately half of all childhood blindness in Cambodia and Lao is avoidable, however, neither country currently has a pediatric ophthalmologist. Moreover, the three leading ophthalmic training centers in these countries have no specialized equipment for assessment, diagnosis or surgery in children. There is an urgent need to train pediatric ophthalmologists in Cambodia and Lao and to provide equipment to each of these three centers.

This initiative will facilitate the monthly in situ training of two Cambodian and one Laotian clinical fellows by consultant pediatric ophthalmologists from Australia and New Zealand. Comprehensive hands-on training will take place in both the clinic and operating theater, whilst one Australian optometrist and one Australian orthoptist will also provide training to refine the refractive and orthoptic skills of the fellows.

Following completion of the program, the newly trained pediatric ophthalmologists will remain at their respective centers, subsequently training their own colleagues and fellows and ensuring a sustainable impact from the initiative. The provision of specialized equipment will not only allow the physicians' training to be of the highest level, but it will also mean the continued treatment of the children visiting the centers would be performed with the best possible 'tools', thereby improving visual outcomes.

It is hoped that the implementation of specialized pediatric training and the provision of appropriate equipment will begin to reduce the rate of avoidable childhood blindness sustainably in both Cambodia and Lao.



So far, four teaching visits have been completed in Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR). Two Fellows on each of the Cambodia trips, and one Fellow on each of the Lao PDR trips have received intensive hands-on training from a fully trained Sight for All (SFA) pediatric ophthalmologist. A further 22 trips are planned for eye healthcare volunteers in the future, to help support the ongoing success of the program.


Feedback received from participants of the program:

"I believe the SFA program can have a massive impact on pediatric eye services in Cambodia. Both Fellows are highly motivated, energetic, keen and young."
Dr Michael Forrest (visiting ophthalmologist, Cambodia)

"A most enjoyable and rewarding week. The challenges are big but there is a very real opportunity to make a difference."
Dr James Elder (visiting ophthalmologist, Lao PDR)

Last update September 2014.


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