Due to physical constraints, four Eye-Trains together can only reach out to a maximum of 12 locations annually, with each train staying for 3 months and performing about 1100 cataract operations at each location. When the Eye-Train leaves, thousands of impoverished patients are left untreated and local eye doctors working on the Eye-Trains have their training opportunities brought to an abrupt end. To tackle the problem, Lifeline Express has mapped out a plan which focuses on training eye doctors in the less developed areas of Mainland China.
Another of the plan is to set up a network of Microsurgical Eye Training Centers (Training Centers) in the capital cities of the less the developed provinces. The Training Centers will be set up inside hospitals. Through the Training Centers, the knowledge and surgical skills of the eye doctors in the less developed provinces will be improved. The Training Centers will not only provide training in cataract surgery but will serve as a knowledge-resource for all aspects of ophthalmology.
Through the provision of equipment, a long-distance telemedicine education, a wet laboratory, a website, a reference library and visits from Hong Kong ophthalmologists, provincial eye-doctors will be able to gain access to the latest ophthalmic developments and techniques.
The Training Centers have the responsibility of not only training resident doctors but also to train eye doctors in other hospitals within the region. The goal is for the Training Center to gradually develop into the core training center for the region. It will also take on the responsibility to perform eye operations for free for the people in need within the region.
Training Center Commitments
- Build up a team of 30 eye doctors at the Training Center
- Develop into a core microsurgical eye-training center for the region.
- Perform a certain number of cataract and other eye operations for free every year.
- Support and encourage eye doctors in the region to sit for the ICO Exams
- Register as an ICO Exam Center for the region
Training Centers will also allow eye doctors in less developed provinces to sit for an international exam organized by the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO). Eye doctors who have passed the ICO Exams will be awarded a fellowship scholarship to receive training overseas.
As of the end of 2010, 15 Training Centers in less developed provinces have been set up. The target is to set up a total of 20 Training Centers. Provinces under consideration for additional Training Centers include Anhui, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Liaoning, Ningxia and Shanxi. Lifeline Express will monitor the progress of these Training Centers and to help them to develop into the core training centers for their region.
The training of eye doctors in these less-developed provinces will in turn enable them to organize training courses for rural eye doctors. They will also be able to perform more eye operations for those in need in less developed areas. Up to 2010, a total of over 3,500 eye doctors have attended training in these Training Centers and over 56,000 free eye operations have been performed for the underprivileged by the Training Centers.
Lifeline Express has also been working together with various Eye Centers in Hong Kong which have a high standard in ophthalmology. Through this cooperation, Hong Kong ophthalmologists have formed an Expert Advisory Group to visit the Training Centers to assist in the training and to exchange expertise with the Training Centers.
Locations As of December 2010, 15 Training Centers have been set up:
- Red Cross Hospital of Yunnan Province, Kunming City, Yunnan Province
- The Peoples Hospital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Nanning City, Guangxi Province
- Mianyang Central Hospital, Mianyang City, Sichuan Province
- Qinghai University Affiliated Hospital, Xining City, Qinghai Province
- The Peoples Hospital of Hunan Province, Changsha City, Hunan Province
- Peoples Hospital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Urumqi City, Xinjiang Province
- The Peoples Hospital of Shandong Province, Jinan City, Shandong Province
- The Peoples Hospital of Hainan Province, Haikou City, Hainan Province
- The Second Hospital of Lanzhou University, Lanzhou City, Gansu Province
- The Peoples Hospital of Shaanxi Province, Xian City, Shaanxi Province
- The Peoples Hospital of Jiangsu province, Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province
- Henan Provincial People's Hospital, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province
- People's Hospital of Jiangxi Province, Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province
- Jilin Province Peoples Hospital, Changchun City, JilinProvince
- The Affiliated Hospital of Inner Mongolia Medical College, Huhehaote City, Inner Mongolia