New type of surgery for infants introduced in Armenia

The AECP/USAID project “Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness” (CEPCB), which combats childhood blindness through the prevention and treatment of the Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), is approaching one of the most challenging phases of the program – ROP surgeries, which have never been performed in Armenia or the region before.  The AECP referred to Dr. Sui Chien Wong (Moorfields Eye Hospital and Royal Free London Hospital (London, UK) for high quality and very specific expertise in this area to join the AECP medical team in this effort. The AECP local doctors are in attendance to observe and assist in these cases.

The first surgeries took place at the CEPCB operating room at the Republican Institute of Reproductive Health, Perinatology, Obstetrics, and Gynecology on April 28. Dr. Thomas Lee, Director of the Retina Department at the Vision Center of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the AECP mentor of the CEPCB program, used an innovative online monitoring system to observe the surgeries in real time and discussed the overall surgery procedure with Dr. Wong and other colleagues in the operating room.

The episodes of the surgeries have been presented today at Noyan Tapan information center by Dr. Sui Chien Wong (Moorfields Eye Hospital , Royal Free London Hospital), Dr. Roger Ohanesian (AECP President), Prof. Alexander Malayan (Chief Ophthalmologist of Armenia, AECP Medical Director), Prof. Razmik Abrahamyan (Director, Republican Institute of Reproductive Health, Perinatology, Obstetrics, and Gynecology) and Nune Yeghiazaryan (AECP Country Director).

“The continuing involvement in the program of the finest retina and ROP specialists in the world is elevating the treatment of ROP in Armenia to a level that we hope will qualify Armenia as a regional center in the nearest future. The project is committed to ensure excellence both in treatment and in service. We hope very much that after the experience with their international colleagues the Armenian doctors will continue successful operations in Armenia”- said the AECP President, Dr. Roger Ohanesian.

The AECP, in cooperation with USAID and the Ministry of Health, launched the three-year program, “Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness,” in 2012. The vision of the program is to make specialized eye care accessible to all children in Armenia and surrounding countries and eliminate childhood blindness caused by ROP.  It is the logical continuation of the “National Screening and Treatment Program on Retinopathy of Prematurity in Armenia” that the AECP has implemented since 2010. Over 2,000 infants have been screened and 70 kids have received free-of-charge quality laser procedures.

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