Dr. Jorizzo’s 2013 expedition to Ethiopia

Ethiopia-Woman-Man-2013For a second year in a row, Dr. Paul Jorizzo and his daughter Kristin traveled on a medical mission to central Africa. This year, the trip focused on a high-volume cataract surgery camp in Arbaminch, Ethiopia. They were joined by local doctor Yewubnesh Hailu, MD, who completed an ophthalmology fellowship at Medical Eye Center in Medford. The week-long surgery camp began at 8:30am on Monday morning. Dr Jorizzo gave a brief glaucoma clinic and then proceeded promptly to the operating room. His team worked 14 hours on Monday, and 12 hours each day Tuesday through Friday. In total, about 370 surgeries were performed, but almost 100 people were turned away due to high demand. Most patients had cataracts and their surgeries were performed by the three Ethiopian ophthalmologists supervised by Dr. Jorizzo. “The quality of surgery at this camp was as high as I have seen in my international experience,” explains Dr. Jorizzo. “Most patients had very mature cataracts, and there was an impressive number of traumatic cataract surgeries performed. More than I had seen previously in Ethiopia.”

Dr. Jorizzo’s impression of the Arbaminch Hospital eye unit was very positive. The eye care clinic’s administrator “seems very motivated and capable” to Dr. Jorizzo, and medical director Dr. Dawit Gidey is “a super nice guy, very calm, a talented clinician and surgeon. I see both of them as reliable assets and would advocate supporting them in any way possible. I believe an investment in Dr. Dawit and the eye clinic staff would be a significant contribution to the communities served by Arbaminch Hospital.”

Ethiopia-LectureFor the second portion of their journey, Paul and Kristin travelled to the capital Addis Ababa in order to participate in training the doctors and staff at Meneilik University Hospital. A new building is under construction at Meneilik, and when the hospital is complete, there are plans to expand the eye care facilities. Thursday was spent in a glaucoma clinic, and Friday began with lectures to the residents and faculty. While at Meneilik, Paul and Kristin had the opportunity to tour the various clinics and visit the eye bank, “which just might be the cleanest room in all of Ethiopia,” laughs Dr. Jorizzo. “It has a new manager, and is reputed to have the best coffee on campus!” He and Kristin enjoyed a freshly-brewed cup, joined by some of the retina and cornea doctors. Dr. Jorizzo was extremely impressed with the people he met. “They are bright, well-trained, and quite current in modern techniques. The eye bank at Meneilik has been a great asset providing tissue for cornea transplantation and glaucoma tube surgery, and I believe that the addition of the OCT on campus would greatly enhance glaucoma and retina care.”

“I am so grateful to the Himalayan Cataract Project for all of the assistance in making this endeavor possible,” says Dr. Jorizzo. “As usual, I return more humble, more insightful, and more grateful than when I left for Ethiopia. Being able to share these experiences with my daughter is truly one of the great joys in my life. We look forward to doing it again very soon.”

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