Berbice health workers focus on eye care and diabetes

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Health professionals in the East Berbice-Corentyne area were last Sunday made aware of how to treat and prevent eye conditions related to diabetes.

This is part of the Ministry of Public Health’s (MOPH) push to extend Diabetic Retinopathy Screening services to all ten administrative regions and as part of the diabetes eye care project of the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) in its continued effort to combat the disease in the developing world.

Consultant Ophthalmologist of the Department of Ophthalmology and Clinical Co-coordinator of the Guyana Diabetes Programme, Dr. Shailendra Sugrim told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that the aim of these sensitisation sessions is to provide health workers with the additional skill to screen patients with diabetes who may develop complications in the eye.

The most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults is diabetic retinopathy Dr. Sugrim explained.   Diabetic retinopathy causes swelling in the area of the retina called the macula and so we promote screening of the eye because there are certain signs that we can detect in the eye before it becomes a complicated case where it can cause blindness. So, the main focus is to teach healthcare professionals about the eye so that they will know when to send patients for screening and so that they can know when the parent needs treatment.”

Already health workers at Suddie in the Pomeroon-Supenaam region, Vreed-en-Hoop West Demerara and from the East Coast of Demerara have benefited from the initiative. MOPH’s workers in the mining town of Linden and on the East Bank of Demerara are expected to participate in similar training next year.

The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is the first medical institution, locally, to have received the retinopathy screening and laser treatment for diabetic patients programme. According to Dr. Sugrim, the programme began with the automated screening, where an appropriate camera which focuses on the eye is being used.  He noted that with this system pictures are taken and health workers will be better able to detect whether there is any bleeding in the eyes.

The programme is being sponsored by the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF), the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), the University of Toronto and Orbis International.

Story and Images: Kellon Rover

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