Resident Blog Series
Partners HealthCare International provides international opportunities for students and residents at Harvard Medical School and its affiliated institutions. Through this program, participants develop an innovative project that aligns their interests with the interests and needs of a PHI overseas partner. Each resident program has a duration of two to four weeks. The student programs include three weeks of on-site work bookended by two weeks of Boston-based collaboration with PHI team members. Students and residents are required to develop a written scholarly work as the result of their educational experience.Senior members from PHI and the partnering institution serve as project mentors.
Find blog entries below posted by residents who are a part of this program.
A new model for eye care: March 9, 2013
Visual impairment contributes to significant avoidable handicap in Buikwe District. An eye camp recently conducted by an NGO in Buikwe District found that 7% of screened adults had operable cataracts. While population-based eye surveys have not been performed in Buikwe, data is available from neighboring districts. Extrapolating this data to Buikwe, an estimated 18,000 school-age children in the district have refractive error. An additional 1,500 adults suffer from refractive error and 5,700 adults need cataract surgery. Further escalating this crisis, 300 new cases of adult refractive error and 1,000 new cases of cataract develop each year. Despite this enormous need for eye care, there are few ophthalmic services available in Buikwe District. Eye care, especially refractive and surgical services, therefore represents a large unmet need.
Needs and constraints for eye care in Buikwe District: March 4, 2013
In my last post I outlined broadly the challenges facing eye care delivery in Buikwe District and Lugazi specifically. Today I sat down with my mentor to analyze systematically and in-depth the needs and constraints for eye care in Buikwe District. This provides the foundations for our final eye care delivery model, which must be designed to address these needs and constraints.
Understanding the challenges facing eye care in Lugazi and Buikwe District: February 24, 2013
My objective this past week has been to understand the challenges facing eye care in Lugazi and Buikwe District at large. I primarily approached this goal using two sources – medical records at two local hospitals (Kawolo Hospital and Mehta Hospital) and direct experiences at these hospitals (including both observations and interviews with ophthalmic medical personnel). Just to provide some brief background: Kawolo Hospital is the government district hospital of Buikwe, and stationed here are two ophthalmic clinical officers (OCOs) (enrolled nurses or general clinical officers who have completed an additional year of ophthalmic training). The OCOs are primarily responsible for ophthalmic care delivery in Buikwe District, as there are no ophthalmologists in the district.
A blank slate in Lugazi: February 19, 2013
As our flight began its descent into Entebbe Airport at 10 PM last night, I looked out the window and noticed a nighttime city skyline quite unlike that of New York City or Boston, my home cities. Instead of a spattering of bright and multicolored lights from buildings, stadiums, and the like, I saw one primary light source – the airport. The rest was black, as if a blank sheet of paper had been drawn over the city. I was suddenly reminded of a valuable piece of advice I received prior to departure. During one of our teaching sessions, Dr. Mehta had suggested I approach the project in Lugazi with a blank slate. I should arrive with no preconceptions of how eye care delivery may succeed in this particular context. Instead, I should immerse myself in the context of Lugazi, and only after understanding this landscape start to design a model for sustainable eye care. In order for a framework for eye care to succeed in Lugazi, it must be shaped for Lugazi.