DocTours Newsletter February 2015
A huge way to make a difference is to teach others new skills, help them to learn and practice their English and develop their independence. Our medical volunteers are making a massive contribution in developing countries through treating patients but also sharing their experiences to develop the local staff. Non-medical volunteers are also very welcome in many roles – just let us know where and when you would like to volunteer and we will arrange a rewarding experience for you. Please be flexible and travel with an open-mind. A huge thank you to all of our past and present volunteers.
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The Gift of Sight
Cambodia has just nine ophthalmologists serving a population of 14 million. There are approximately 168,000 Cambodians who are blind, 80% of this blindness is due to preventable or treatable conditions such as cataracts. Battambang is the 3rd largest city in Cambodia and its Ophthalmic Centre provides community outreach and education programs, surgery and follow-up, support and training to build the capacity of the local doctors and support staff. The centre performs over 4,500 surgeries annually including over 25% of the nation’s cataract surgeries. It continues to provide essential eye care services to the poor, under-served communities in the Battambang province with just two ophthalmologists.
DocTours first visited the centre in 2012. It was completely run down with little or no clean water and frequently without electricity. There was mold on the ceilings and operating theatres and limited resources to stop the transmission of infection. Through the generosity of many donors they have relocated to new premises in a newer building a couple of doors down the street.
DocTours delivered 200 lenses (donated by Alcon) for cataract surgery. Our mission is to enable 100 children have the operation by supplying the lenses which is one of the Hospital’s main challenges. Without sufficient resources, cheap lenses are bought from India or China and are surgically implanted. There are issues within a very short time and the kids become blind again. A supply of good quality lenses are more reliable and will last a long time. With their sight restored, the children can attend school and become productive and independent.
The photos above show staff performing eye testing in a remote village. Pre op preparation and then accommodation overnight for the patients (note that many patients sleep on floor mats). Volunteers (ophthalmologists and all skills) are needed to help the Cambodians build a better life.
A volunteer doctor said:
“The doctors here are the pioneers of modern medical practice in Cambodia. What they do and achieve will likely set the direction of the future of health care here.”
“My greatest reward is to train of a group of future practitioners who can potentially make a substantial difference in health care in this country.” “Cambodia would benefit from a large investment in its public medical care system, including its public health infrastructure, as well as its post-graduate medical education system. High quality training done within Cambodia will go a long away to elevating the quality of health care and bring it up to par with other countries in the region. It is great to be a part of an organization making a big difference for the patients in addition to strengthening the capacity of the country.”
What’s hot? Spice Islands Sailing Adventure 2015
“ …I would dream of the fabled Spice Islands. Images of palm-fringed tropical islands backed by towering volcanoes filled my imagination and I saw myself arriving on their sandy shores by sailing boat, like the explorers, adventurers and traders that had gone before me…“ (from ‘Spice Islands’, 2011, by Ian Burnet)
East Indies Spice Exploration – Departing from Maumere in Flores September 26 for 12 days until October 7 in Ambon.
SeaTrek has teamed up with author and Spice Islands expert Ian Burnet to curate this fascinating look at the colonial history of Indonesia and it’s role in the international spice trade of the 17th century. This 12-day voyage travels in an eastward arc capturing the maritime route of early colonials who traversed the Indonesian waters in search of the precious spices found within this small band of islands. Ian Burnet will lend his expertise and you will be transported back in time as you learn about historic outposts, see the colorful native villages, experience the marketplaces, and smell the aroma of the spice plantations. These unforgettable excursions on land will be matched by those at sea as the Ombak Putih wends her way through stunning volcanic islands with stops at pristine beaches, giving guests ample time to swim and snorkel in some of the richest and most magical waters in the world.More information here.