I want to thank you again for supporting the work of the Fiat Lux Foundation, and to bring you up to date on some of our recent activity. Earlier this month, I traveled to Kigali, Rwanda, to work with two local ophthalmologists, the husband and wife team of Dr. John Nkurikiye and Dr. Ciku Mathenge. I was well-acquainted with Dr. Mathenge from a previous trip to Kenya. She is a dedicated ophthalmologist with a long and distinguished history of clinical and research work in developing countries. Prior to my visit, I had asked Dr. Mathenge to put together a wish list of equipment and supplies that she cannot do without.
Thanks to the generous contributions of our donors and partner corporations, I was able to deliver every item on her list including the following:
- A green laser for treating patients with diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma
- A YAG laser form treating cloudy vision after cataract surgery
- An A and B-scan ultrasound for diagnostic purposes
- 4 computerized systems for measuring visual acuity
- Two indirect ophthalmoscopes
- Two Haag-Streit slit lamps
- Materials for performing 6 glaucoma tube shunt procedures
- 30 intraocular lens implants
- A Tonopen for measuring intraocular pressure
- Surgical supplies, including sutures, a diamond blade, pen cauteries, medications, etc.
Rwanda is a country of 11 million people and currently has twelve ophthalmologists, only four of whom operate. Among the challenges in eye care delivery in Rwanda are the small number of eye care personnel at all levels, the quality of training and services offered, and the low productivity of existing surgeons. Drs. Mathenge and Nkurikiye have an ambitious plan for building an eye hospital, residency training center, and eye bank in Kigali. The proposed Rwanda International Institute of Ophthalmology (RIIO) aims to address most of these issues and set a foundation for quality comprehensive eye care for eastern and central Africa. The Fiat Lux Foundation will continue to provide financial and logistical support to help make RIIO a reality.
Thomas Tayeri, M.D.