This project is initiated and run by Dr Ali Dabbagh, a British-Palestinian ophthalmologist, currently residing in Dubai.
Lack of specialised eye care providers (Diabetes/Glaucoma):
- There are 66 ophthalmologists in the West Bank, of which 12 are specialized; compromises: 2 retinal, 1 corneal, 1 neuro-ophthalmologist & 1 pediatric ophthalmologist.
- NO Diabetic ophthalmologist.
- The population of the West Bank is over 3 Million, 14% of whom suffer from Diabetes.
(Source: research paper by the National Society for the Visually Handicapped http://www.nsfvh.org/ )
Lack of movement:
With a system of frequent closures and a network of checkpoints, many patients are deterred from making a trip to the doctor.
Lack of knowledge:
As the case in many countries in the Middle East, diabetic patients tend to neglect their condition until they are diagnosed legally blind. This can be avoided if the proper preventative treatment is made available and well communicated.
- Setting up a screening programme to identify the disease stages (diabetes & glaucoma) and consequences.
- Create a comprehensive databank of diabetic retinopathy.
- Provide training workshops for family doctors, paramedics, and healthwork organisations in remote centres.
- Produce educational packs to be distributed to medical centres to raise awareness to the importance of early detection.
- Provide Laser treatment for diabetes & glaucoma patients
- Establish the provisions of a follow-up system to enable a link up to ‘telemedicine’ facilities.
Co-operation & logistics:
The Mobile eye clinic will work in cooperation with existing major healthcare providers in Palestine. Those include:
- Palestine Red Crescent Society https://www.palestinercs.org/
- Health work committees http://www.hwc-pal.org/
- St John eye hospital http://www.stjohneyehospital.org/
- Medical Aid for Palestinians http://www.map-uk.org/pages/MAP_WestBank.html
- Ministry of Health
- United Nations Relief & Works Agency UNRWA http://www.un.org/unrwa/programmes/health/index.html
The aim is to contact and visit all healthcare providers and establish an optimum system of operations for the mobile eye clinic through their existing clinics and centres. This will be designed to serve highest number of potential patients. It also facilitates the training of medical staff and health workers in those centres.
- Lack of freedom of movement and envisaged delays at checkpoints prevented the purchase of a mini bus to implement the original idea of a full mobile clinic. To overcome this problem, all equipment purchased will be of a ‘portable’ nature to facilitate its movement between existing medical centres where the examinations/ consultations & treatment will be provided.
- The pace of implementation stages is decided by the number of ophthalmologist volunteers (from around the world) willing to provide their time to join the clinic. The clinic has already started its operations by the founder and initiator of the project.