IAPB receives support from Eye Samaritans International (previously Shreveport Sees Russia), Medicor and Ophthalmic Aid to Eastern Europe to support a ROP programme in Eastern Europe and Russia.
The Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) programme delivers strategic, regional and national workshops, working with teams of paediatric ophthalmologists, neonatologists and neonatal nurses.
This programme is to support Ministries of Health to strengthen their national ROP programmes through interactive workshops, sponsorship to key events, provision of information and resources, facilitation of partnerships and linking to funding opportunities.
IAPB has a longstanding relationship with Russia and this year for the first time IAPB was asked to send experts to run a ROP course at the Russian Neonatal Congress, where two international experts took part. It looks likely that this invitation will be extended in 2017.
One neonatologist was sponsored to attend the Congress on transport of high-risk neonates in Copenhagen. On his return, he provided a brief report emphasising how it had opened his eyes to programmes in other countries and how transportation is organised to minimise risk to the infants. One of the main impacts of these sponsorship opportunities is to help bring Russian practitioners into the global forum and to provide exposure to the latest developments as well as the networking opportunity to make new contacts.
IAPB was requested by the Ministry of Health to run a ROP workshop for the Yekaterinburg region. This is now the third ROP workshop for Russia and targeted regional teams from Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) to review their programmes, guidelines and identify how best to strengthen them.
Following on from the 2015 national ROP workshop in Romania, IAPB has worked closely with the lead ophthalmologist there to develop a two year ROP programme and to secure funding for it. This programme was funded by Medicor in October 2016 and will see the establishment of a National ROP Committee, review of guidelines and protocols and the mentoring of four level III NICUs to become training centres for the NICU teams in their regions.
To support the ROP programme in Romania IAPB has helped facilitate the donation of a laser from Eye Samaritans International and two indirect ophthalmoscopes from the Ophthalmic Aid to Eastern Europe.
One emerging need from the workshops in Russia is the dearth of information on ROP to support the education and awareness of neonatal nurse on the risks, prevention and screening for ROP. To help bridge this gap IAPB approached Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN) to see if they could work together to provide some on line videos for nurse – initially in English. This has been agreed and a programme has been outlined for filming in 2017.