Two retinal camera’s donated to overseas charity
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) has donated two retinal cameras to the Brighter Future Foundation, a UK charity to support healthcare for the local people of Yangon, Myanmar.
When NNUH upgraded its own retinal cameras, the two older cameras became available and Dr Swe Myint, NNUH endocrinologist, suggested the donation to the charity.
The cameras detect diabetes retinopathy, one of the complications of diabetes. Patients generally do not have any symptoms until the condition is too advanced to treat and as a consequence they often lose their sight. In the UK, patients with diabetes are offered at least an annual screening for their eyes by having a retinal photograph taken.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common in Myanmar (12- 15% adult population) than in the UK but to date the country has not had a retinal screening programme The Brighter Future Foundation Charity led by Dr Myint, has set up the very first diabetes eye screening programme for all patients with diabetes attending the North Okkalapa Hospital in Yangon Mynamar. This work was in collaboration with the NNUH ophthalmology department, the Improving Global Health Leadership programme UK, Diabetes and Endocrinology department and the Ophthalmology Department at North Okkalapa University Hospital, Yangon.
The second camera was donated to a local charity National Health Network which is planning to set up a mobile diabetes service across a number of rural locations there.
Tony Nicholls, NNUH Eye Screening Manager, was sponsored by the Brighter Future Foundation to train the staff on how to use the cameras, ‘grade’ the images received and help set up an adequate treatment pathway.
In the seven days that Tony was at the hospital he trained an operator and ten people to grade the images, and make sure there was a pathway to treatment for those who needed it. The hospital has approximately 700 beds but in their first clinic they saw 21 patients, three of whom required treatment. NNUH sees 2,000 patients a month with approximately five to seven patients needing treatment each year.
Tony said: “It was a great experience to be able to go out and help these people set up a clinic which will greatly benefit the community. The camera was originally purchased for the hospital through charitable funding from the Norfolk Diabetes Trust so it is great to see the camera continue to provide benefits to another hospital through charitable donation.”
Swe Myint, NNUH Endocrinologist commented: “I am very pleased to see that everything went well from transport of the camera to the point when we can start using it for patients who desperately need treatment. We were proud that we able to set up this service in such a short period with the effort of the team. As part of the service, we also managed to set up a referral system, treatment pathway, multi-disciplinary meetings and achieving at least a basic database for people who need screening regularly. We are hoping we can do more in the future.”