gms | German Medical Science

22nd International Congress of German Ophthalmic Surgeons

18. to 21.06.2009, Nürnberg

North-South Cooperation in Ophtalmology: Success Models for Cooperation

Meeting Abstract

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  • C. Tumwesigye - Mulago Hospitalo, Dept. Of Ophthalmology, Kampala, Uganda

22. Internationaler Kongress der Deutschen Ophthalmochirurgen. Nürnberg, 18.-21.06.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09docH 6.2

DOI: 10.3205/09doc028, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-09doc0289

Published: July 9, 2009

© 2009 Tumwesigye.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/deed.en). You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.


Outline

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Introduction:

The term North south cooperation generally refers to the cooperation between the developed countries in Europe/North America and the Under-developed countries more especially in Africa.

The developed North has reasonable amount of resources in terms of Money, trained manpower and equipment. In sharp contrast the developing countries have limited resources in all spheres and in particular towards eye care. There are a limited number of trained personnel and those who are available are poorly distributed. There is lack of appropriate equipment. Where available it is usually old, poorly maintained or no maintenance at all or located in one centre not necessarily accessible to the majority of the population. Consumables are not readily available in the units and supply is not sustained.

Who are the providers of eye care/collaboration:

Governments:

In developing countries medical care provision is principally the government’s responsibility. There is generally lack of insurance to meet the cost of medical treatment except in some cases for some few employees in private companies and these constitute a very small percentage of the population.

Non Governmental organisations:

These are non profit making organisations and these include among others:

Lions Clubs International

Christofel Blinden Mission (CBM)

Sight Savers International

Light for the World

Orbis

Inter-governmental assistance/cooperation:

These organisations work in conjunction with governments to provide eye care services and in several instances provide the bulk of the medical care. There are several units as evidence to the success of such cooperation.

Inter-university cooperation:

Twinning between universities in the North and South is one well tested avenue of cooperation. This is done through exchange programmes of students and lecturers, technology and skills transfer, continuing medical education, short term and long term scholarships, collaboration through research.

Challenges:

Several challenges will be met along the way and include: Lack of enough resources, lack of enthusiasm and fear to go South especially for professionals from the North, laws in various countries that hinder hands on training for outside professionals who want to improve their skills.

Conclusion:

Successful North to South cooperation is a reality and is beneficial to all the partners. More needs to be done to make the modalities of how this can be initiated and sustained well known to those interested.