In Madagascar, cataracts are the cause of a mounting public health crisis, as more than two hundred thousand people are blind or visually impaired, in a nation of 28 million. While many cases of cataract blindness can be resolved through cataract surgery, the challenge is a shortage of specialists who can perform the surgery.
In September of this year, our team launched an MSICS simulation-based training center to fight cataract blindness in Madagascar.
As we look toward end of year, we’re blessed to have a generous donor who has offered to match every dollar we raise to support our efforts. Our Matching Gift Campaign is focused on filling 25 classrooms with trainees who can provide care for people in need.
Located at Polyclinic d’IIafy in Antananarivo, the project that is underway has been created as a result of an agreement between the Malagasy Ministry of Health, Polyclinic d’llafy and HelpMeSee, which uses virtual reality simulators and a cutting-edge training program to drive change.
In fact, today, according to the Malagasy Ministry of Public Health, only 25 surgeons are available to perform life-changing cataract surgery in Madagascar, meaning only 372 surgeries are performed each year for every million people in need. It is estimated that only 10% of the new cataract cases are operated on annually, steadily and dramatically increasing the backlog of cases awaiting surgery.
This innovative partnership began in 2015, when Dr. Jean Marie Andre, Medical Officer at HelpMeSee, began training surgeons in Madagascar. His work gained the interest of the Malagasy Ministry of Health, as multiple surgeons learned to transition from ECCE to the MSICS procedure. Now, these trained surgeons, dedicated by Professor Lea Roabella, head of ophthalmology at HRJA Hospital, will go on to provide simulation-based training at Polyclinic d’llafy to medical and ophthalmic practitioners to become cataract specialists.
The training center will include the use of HelpMeSee’s virtual reality surgical simulator and simulation-based training program which relies on cutting edge innovation to support the high-volume training of cataract specialists.
By training new specialists at scale, HelpMeSee is working with partners as part of an ecosystem focused on increasing surgical capacity and, delivering low-cost eye care to people who desperately need it.
Our matching gift campaign is an exciting opportunity, as donors around the world lend their support to fill classrooms, and help change lives.