New type of surgery for infants introduced in Armenia

17:48 29.04.2014

The AECP/USAID project `Center of Excellence for the Prevention of
Childhood Blindness' (CEPCB), which combats childhood blindness
through the prevention and treatment of the Retinopathy of Prematurity
(ROP), is approaching one of the most challenging phases of the
program - ROP surgeries, which have never been performed in Armenia or
the region before. The AECP referred to Dr. Sui Chien Wong
(Moorfields Eye Hospital and Royal Free London Hospital (London, UK)
for high quality and very specific expertise in this area to join the
AECP medical team in this effort. The AECP local doctors are in
attendance to observe and assist in these cases.

The first surgeries took place at the CEPCB operating room at the
Republican Institute of Reproductive Health, Perinatology, Obstetrics,
and Gynecology on April 28. Dr. Thomas Lee, Director of the Retina
Department at the Vision Center of Children's Hospital of Los Angeles
and the AECP mentor of the CEPCB program, used an innovative online
monitoring system to observe the surgeries in real time and discussed
the overall surgery procedure with Dr. Wong and other colleagues in
the operating room.

The episodes of the surgeries have been presented today at Noyan Tapan
information center by Dr. Sui Chien Wong (Moorfields Eye Hospital ,
Royal Free London Hospital), Dr. Roger Ohanesian (AECP President),
Prof. Alexander Malayan (Chief Ophthalmologist of Armenia, AECP
Medical Director), Prof. Razmik Abrahamyan (Director, Republican
Institute of Reproductive Health, Perinatology, Obstetrics, and
Gynecology) and Nune Yeghiazaryan (AECP Country Director).

`The continuing involvement in the program of the finest retina and
ROP specialists in the world is elevating the treatment of ROP in
Armenia to a level that we hope will qualify Armenia as a regional
center in the nearest future. The project is committed to ensure
excellence both in treatment and in service. We hope very much that
after the experience with their international colleagues the Armenian
doctors will continue successful operations in Armenia'- said the AECP
President, Dr. Roger Ohanesian.

The AECP, in cooperation with USAID and the Ministry of Health,
launched the three-year program, `Center of Excellence for the
Prevention of Childhood Blindness,' in 2012. The vision of the program
is to make specialized eye care accessible to all children in Armenia
and surrounding countries and eliminate childhood blindness caused by
ROP. It is the logical continuation of the `National Screening and
Treatment Program on Retinopathy of Prematurity in Armenia' that the
AECP has implemented since 2010. Over 2,000 infants have been screened
and 70 kids have received free-of-charge quality laser procedures.