Jul 14, 2019 News
In the past 10 years government has expended close to $100M to assist patients to travel to Trinidad alone, to have eye restoration surgeries. But this is likely to become a thing of the past. This is according to Dr. Arlene Bobb-Semple, an ophthalmologist attached to the Georgetown Pubic Hospital Corporation [GPHC]’s Eye Care Department.
Dr. Bobb-Semple is one of the Guyanese specialists currently attending a regional Ophthalmological Society of the West Indies [OSWI] Conference being held in Trinidad. Another local doctor attending the conference is Dr. Shailendra Sugrim, the head of the GPHC’s Ophthalmology Department.
According to Dr. Bobb-Semple, the GPHC is on a mission to improve the delivery of eye care offered to Guyanese. She pointed out that there continues to be a significant rise in the diabetes-related challenges faced by many Guyanese. As such, she said that plans are apace to have surgeries done in Guyana to address such conditions as many diabetic patients are forced to travel abroad have their surgeries done.
“Eye care in Guyana has really expanded and improved over the past five years, and we are trying every day to seek ways to improve eye care services even more. For the past years, we have seen the introduction of the Cornea transplant services that we now do at the Georgetown Public Hospital’s eye clinic, and also there was the development of the Guyana Diabetic Retinopathy Centre, right at GPHC, which easily screens patients who have diabetes mellitus… another project that we hope to initiate at GPHC eye clinic is the introduction of vitreoretinal surgeries by the end of this year in our department,” Dr. Bobb-Semple said.
She continued, “There are many patients who suffer from retinal-related metrologies, for example, retinal detachment, macular holes, vitreous haemorrhaging – which is blood in the eye, secondary to diabetes mellitus, and these patients would be definite beneficiaries.”
Dr. Bobb-Semple noted that because of the high number of persons turning up with diabetes, the department continues to be faced with the challenges of ensuring that all who need the surgeries can access it.
“Currently patients with these disorders are referred to overseas for corrective surgeries, but for many others it is a very daunting and expensive undertaking… so being a specialist in this field, I’ve reached out to an NGO overseas and we are working on a collaboration with them that will see the donation of equipment so that we can start performing these surgeries for the first time, right at the Georgetown Public Hospital,” she informed.
A Non-governmental Organisation in Tanzania, Dr. Bobb-Semple shared, has made a commitment of donating the machine needed to perform the surgeries. The multimillion-dollar machine is expected to be handed over to government later this year or early next year. The medical practitioner said that although government is usually willing to pay a significant portion of needed eye surgery costs, often patients are unable to find the remaining sum.
“The surgeries are not done here and they are expensive, and the reality is that many persons cannot afford the cost even when government pays half of the costs. Since we have found that more and more people are faced with this problem, we have commitment for the donation of the machine. Discussions with the Ministry of Public Health and GPHC have been had, so I think that in the very near future the challenges faced by Guyanese in securing monies to do their surgeries abroad would certainly be something of the past,” Dr. Bobb-Semple asserted.
As a holder of a Masters of Medicine in Ophthalmology from Uganda, a Fellowship in Phacoemulsification in Kenya and a Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Surgery in Tanzania, Dr. Bobb-Semple insisted that the team of ophthalmologists at the GPHC continue to do a fantastic job. The GPHC team, she said, is continually seeking ways to save the sight of many patients.
“Over the next few years from now, we at GPHC eye clinic hope to have dedicated retina clinic for patients who have retinal pathologies. Right now, as a retina specialist, I see patients with retina pathologies, but with the hope of sensitizing all Guyanese about this new service. This will enable us to reach more patients who have these eye conditions, and we hope to initiate retinal surgeries at GPHC by the end of 2019,” she asserted.
She said that while many of the success stories are not told publicly, the GPHC eye clinic is satisfied that many persons who have visited and have been treated successfully can share their success stories whereby their sights were saved and/or repaired.
“Despite the many challenges that we have faced, the team of doctors at the GPHC continues to do a remarkable job and I am very proud to be a part of that team,” Dr. Bobb-Semple said.
In addition to Drs. Sugrim and Bobb-Semple, the GPHC Ophthalmology Department also benefits from the expertise of other ophthalmologists including Drs. Celeste Hinds and Jennell Sarju; Haitian Dr Damonie Lammy and Cuban Dr Madeline Garcia.
Was Jagdeo honest when he made those promises?
Sep 21, 2023– Warriors face Tallawahs Friday with last spot in finals up for grabs Kaieteur Sports – Man-of-the-match Chadwick Walton cracked an unbeaten 80 as Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR)...
By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.