China and Africa Programs

China Project

Dean McGee Eye Institute volunteer physicians and two PGY-4 residents travel annually to China for educational purposes. The first visit in 2002 underscored that we could not possibly affect the hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens blind from cataracts by simply performing cataract surgery for one or two weeks per year. Prior to our involvement, the average time for a Chinese Ophthalmology Resident to be trained was up to 15 years compared to three years in the United States. Our goal is to educate the Chinese ophthalmologists to train their surgical residents more efficiently and in greater numbers. In addition to providing onsite education while in China, DMEI has been assisting the Chinese in developing a residency training experience that provides more hands-on direct patient care in a shorter time frame. The Sichuan Health Bureau has encouraged us to help the Provincial Hospital increase their number of cataract surgeons to aid in the treatment of 500,000 blind residents with treatable cataracts. With significant cultural differences in our educational systems, it has been understood that developing relationships gradually, as well as setting realistic goals in partnership, will result in sustained success over time.

Eswatini/Swaziland Project

Dean McGee Eye Institute volunteer physicians and two PGY-4 Residents travel to Eswatini/Swaziland, Africa, annually for educational purposes. During this experience, residents witness first-hand the opportunities and fulfillment of participating in missionary work. Residents work directly with the HIV/AIDS task force teams in Eswatini/Swaziland to provide needed care to those suffering from the disease. In addition, they work directly with Dr. Jonathan Pons who provides ophthalmology care for the country and assist him in various clinics and operating theaters while directly learning many of the skills valuable in missionary work. Residents work directly with The Luke Commission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free healthcare to those in Rural Swaziland who otherwise have no access to needed treatment.