A guest post from Joan McLeod-Omawale, ORBIS International: a window to the good work ORBIS has been doing over the years in the Latin American region.
I had the opportunity to participate in the 20th Anniversary Celebrations of our long-term partner, Regional Institute of Ophthalmology (IRO) in Trujillo, Peru on July 10-12. The IRO is a government institute and referral center in northern Peru that provides specialized ophthalmic services and is the second largest ophthalmology residency training institute in the country. IRO now has over 140 staff members in all departments including administration, statistics, biomedicine, ophthalmology, and nursing.
Orbis has partnered with IRO since 2002 in various capacity building programs. Orbis’s collaboration with IRO ranges from supporting the establishment of the first pediatric ophthalmology unit in Northern Peru to providing both in-country and external training opportunities for their eye care teams.
Throughout our partnership, all Orbis capacity building strategies have been used including the Flying Eye Hospital and our telehealth initiative Cybersight. All ophthalmologists, nurses, biomedical technicians, anesthesiologists, and the administrative staff have benefited from training in Peru, the U.S.A. and several Latin American countries. We have provided local hospital-based training programs as well as financial grants for equipment and supplies, research, and management improvement change processes to reduce avoidable blindness and promote eye health.
I was invited to present on Orbis’s and IRO’s 12-year relationship at the anniversary celebration, among several other presenters from Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and the U.S. who led scientific courses on various topics. Special guests included former Orbis Flying Eye Hospital Staff Ophthalmologist and past IRO resident, Dra. Roxana Rivera, and FedEx fellow Dr. Patricia Chirinos, and leaders of the National University of Trujillo and private universities. We had the opportunity to experience social and cultural events, including choir and dance performances put on by the Universities in the evenings, and a media-publicized 4K run/walk in honor of IRO.
I am proud all of IRO’s accomplishments and Orbis’s 12-year participation in their success, and I look forward to the institution continuing to grow and improve eye health in northern Peru.