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Successful clinical fellowships for eye specialists from Myanmar

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[Translate to English:] Bild: MedUni Wien/Hörmandinger
from left: Vice rector Michaela Fritz, Head of the Ophthalmology Department Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth, Khin Khin Win, Thazin Shwe, Hla Kay Thi, Ambassador San Lwin and Christoph Scholda

(Vienna, 09 August 2017) After spending a successful year on a clinical fellowship, three ophthalmologists from Myanmar have now returned to their homeland. The doctors were able to specialise in various areas of ophthalmology (corneal diseases, glaucoma, retinal surgery) at the Department of Ophthalmology and Optometry of MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital. A small celebration was held on 8 August to say goodbye to these three colleagues.

Since September 2016, the three ophthalmologists from Myanmar, Mrs Thazin Shwe, Mrs Hla Kay Thi and Mrs Khin Khin Win, had been integrated into the clinical practice of of MedUni Vienna's Department of Ophthalmology and Optometrys funded by clinical fellowships and this gave them the opportunity to specialise in specific areas of ophthalmology, namely corneal diseases, glaucoma and retinal surgery.

Three years ago, three ophthalmologists were invited to come from Myanmar to spend a three-month residency in the Ophthalmology Department and this highlighted the need for one-year specialist training placements funded by clinical fellowships. On the initiative of the Rotary Club of Baden bei Wien and with funding they had raised via donations, the International Office and Dr Christoph Scholda from MedUni Vienna's Ophthalmology Department have now managed to organise these fellowships.

The one-year fellowships now completed by the ophthalmologists will count as specialist training back in Myanmar. The background to this is that there are comparatively few ophthalmologists in Myanmar (1 ophthalmologist per 250,000 inhabitants, as compared with Austria where there is 1 ophthalmologist per 10,000 inhabitants) and the lack of training opportunities in Myanmar – even though it has one of the highest rates of blindness in the world.

The fellowships and the international exchange of colleagues will help to improve eye care in Myanmar.