I have been visiting Myanmar for over a decade with my blindness prevention organization Sight For All. Our eye surgeons have been working with local colleagues to find sustainable solutions to the enormous burden of vision loss that afflicts this poorest of countries. I had with me a team of three from Royal Adelaide Hospital, including a trainee eye surgeon (Dr Paul Athanasiov), an ophthalmic nurse (Sister Siew Kim Teo) and a public health scientist (Steve Nygaard). Escorting us were Drs Hlaing Win and Tin Mg Thant, young colleagues from Mandalay Eye Hospital, the second largest ophthalmic training centre in Myanmar. We were bound for two regional eye centres in the Chin State, each manned by an eye surgeon posted for a year or more, far from their homes, far from their families, and in the midst of minority people with whom they can barely communicate.
I knew that Sight For All Ambassador and acclaimed filmmaker Scott Hicks had a close connection with Myanmar, and was eager to experience Sight For All’s work first hand as well as explore his family roots. Scott’s grandfather, George Augustus Hicks, had been the chief engineer on a major rail bridge near Mandalay and George’s father-in-law, Henry Felix Hertz, was a District Superintendent of Police in northern Burma. Scott was to become our unofficial but devoted photographer, relishing the opportunity to capture our team’s work as never before. He’s an accomplished photographer and film director. Full story . More....
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