The Mission - Blindness Prevention

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May 6th 2017
Published: May 6th 2017
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Potential Eye HospitalPotential Eye HospitalPotential Eye Hospital

The potential site for a new eye hospital. The shell is built, but the inside is all shell space.
May 6, 2017 (Chengdu) This is my eleventh year going to Chengdu. The work initially focused on an academic exchange between the ophthalmology training programs at Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI) Sichuan People’s Provincial Hospital (SPPH). Hospitals in China are huge relative to the US and still emphasize inpatient care. SPPH has around 5,200 beds and a large, busy outpatient department. A big challenge in SW China is the very high prevalence of cataract blindness, with an estimated 1.2 million people blind from cataracts. Once the need became clear to us, a goal has been to help address treatable blindness. Over the years, the consensus has been the need for Western style training center to perform high volume, high quality, efficient cataract surgery. To achieve this we’ve proposed starting with an International Eye Care wing in the current hospital, expanding it to a free standing eye hospital and then developing a provincial network of county level hospitals that provide high quality cataract surgery. Just before to this year’s trip, we received architectural drawings for a 17 story eye hospital in the new section of Chengdu (Tianfu Area). The outer shell is built, but all the inside is unfinished - a building
Building for Potential Eye Hospital Building for Potential Eye Hospital Building for Potential Eye Hospital

One floor would be dedicated for the International Eye Care program.
we toured last year. SPPH is looking to partner with a state owned investment company to build an eye hospital with one floor dedicated to the International Eye Care program. I am cautiously hopeful would be more accurate. Projects like these can languish, but this is the most tangible evidence that we’ve been given that a new hospital will happen. And in China once the decision is made, things can happen very quickly.

We’ll see…. To support the International Eye Care Center, we’ve proposed a co-branded “paired-surgeon” model where Western surgeons to come over for 2-3 weeks at a time to partner with Chinese surgeons, spending time operating side by side, focusing on skills transfer and patient co-management, which will continue via telemedicine links between SPPH and DMEI.


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