More Than Just Operating: Teaching Local Doctors

VHI 071414By Anthony Calacino

Although most of VHI’s field programs to South America focus in part on educating local doctors about the procedures we perform, no program has been quite like the current one in Piura. Dr. Andrea Molinari from Ecuador has joined VHI to not only perform dozens of life changing surgeries, but to teach local doctors how to identify, treat, and operate on strabismus.

Dr. Molinari is known well throughout many countries in South America for her work in pediatric ophthalmology. During this program, Dr. Molinari is giving daily lectures (in Spanish) to all of the ophthalmologists and doctors in training at the Santa Rosa hospital.

On Monday (Day 2), during the first surgeries, Dr. Molinari waited patiently outside the surgery room as the room was prepared. Among her were some 5 residents training to be certified to do strabismus surgery. On her laptop, Dr. Molinari would point towards photos of different patients and cases. Frequently, the residents had questions about certain procedures and techniques.

When the next patient was ready, Dr. Molinari would lead the residents in and teach while operating. Even more amazing, while instructing in Spanish, Dr. Molinari often switched in and out of english to ask for an instrument or talk to one of our volunteer nurses.

With this week of training, the hope is to enable the local ophthalmology department to perform more strabismus surgeries on their own in order to cope with high demand. Although VHI is in Peru for several weeks a year, education about the procedure will strengthen the local programs.