In last month MMI News, Dr. Ralph Handly shared about the two eye clinics in Dushanbe, Tajikistan that are being supported by two of our local Fresno ophthalmologists: Dr. Kevin Kummerfeld and Dr. Mehdi Ghajar.
This past month, Dr. Mehdi Ghajar traveled to Tajikistan where he screened over 50 patients with corneal and cataract diseases, including young children with reversible blindness. Dr. Ghajar is an ophthalmologist at the Eye Medical Center of Fresno is Board Certified and Fellowship Trained in Corneal Refractive Surgery. With MMI Board member Dr. Handly’s assistance, he was able to take locally donated specialized eye surgical equipment from MMI to perform these surgeries. In addition, this trip was sponsored by Dr. Ghajar’s non profit called Pasha4Health (www.
pasha4health.org) which provides training programs for Tajik surgeons fighting reversible blindness.
We live in an incredible day and age where two days after Dr. Ghajar screened these 50 patients, donated corneas were flown in from the USA two days later. Dr. Ghajar and his colleagues were then able to perform 10 transplants along with two artificial cornea translates for patients with severe ocular surface diseases.
Dr. Ghajar has traveled all over the world doing humanitarian work. Currently, Dr. Ghajar’s focus in Tajikistan. Dr. Ghajar speaks Persian, has become knowable about its culture & customs, and has built Tajik relationships. His desire is to train and empower the local surgeons in techniques that have the best outcomes for those that are low income, poor and rural.
Throughout the year, Dr. Ghajar and his PASHA colleagues use Telederm as a way of providing consultation for dermatological problems. Since Dr. Ghajar is only able to go once a year to Tajikistan, telecommunication technologies is a new wonderful way for ongoing medical consultation throughout the year. Telecommunication technologies are used to exchange medical information over a distance using audio, visual, and data communication. This can be over the internet, Viber, WhatApp, etc. This technology can be applied in every area of medicine including ophthalmology. Some day we hope to see this used by JC Bataneni, MD at the remote and rural Nebobongo Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We are grateful to Dr. Ghajar for his on going commitment Tajikistan & the education of Tajik ophthalmologists. MMI is currently in the process of sending 3 crates of opthamological surgical equipment to Tajikistan for these two clinics.