Alcon the world's leading eye care company, who has been improving eye health and vision for more than 60 years, offers a $50,000 grant to Mercy Ships for the expansion of the training component of the Mercy Vision program for Africa.
The fund is intended for the two three-month surgical fellowships program "Mercy Ships Alcon Fellowship". The fellowship will offer training in advanced cataract techniques and will complement additional training done with community eye workers and local eye surgeons to help build capacity during the ship's 10-month port visit.
Additionally Alcon supports Mercy Ships with the very latest equipment and disposables to tackle most dense and sever African cataract.
According to Dr. Glenn Strauss, Chief of Ophthalmology Service and Senior VP of Strategic Health Care for Mercy Ships, patients in Africa often develop more dense and severe cataracts due to the frequency of eye trauma, the intensity of the sun's rays along the equator, nutritional issues, and lack of access to ophthalmic intervention.
Mercy Ships is an international Christian charity using hospital ships partnering with landbased programmes to deliver transformational health care at no charge to the world’s forgotten poor.
Since 1978, Mercy Ships has had more than 2.16 million direct beneficiaries. The countries served by Mercy Ships are ranked as the poorest in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index (UNHDI).
The Africa Mercy is the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, and is dedicated to the continent of Africa.
Strauss, who have already began training the first fellowship grantee from Gabon this month, believes that Surgeons need to understand all of the techniques available to them and how they can provide the most affordable quality care in the areas they are working in. the fellowship training will also emphasize whole-patient care concepts, developing the trainees' skills to meet the variety of challenges they will experience as future leaders in eye care.
According to Sara Woodward, Director of Alcon's Corporate Humanitarian Services, Mercy Ships vision of training local ophthalmologists to serve the eye care needs of their own communities will help create sustainable eye care delivery in some of the most underserved regions of Africa.