From 8 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday, the Ophthalmology Clinic at Hôpital de l’Université d’Etat d’Haiti (HUEH) in Port-Au-Prince sees hundreds of patients squeeze through its gated entrance, stand stymied in its constrained waiting room, before finally stepping into the verdant courtyard that feeds its exam rooms. The Ophthalmology clinic compound, built primarily during the American occupation and rehabilitated through support from CBM and Lion’s Club, is part of the 40% of HUEH infrastructure that survived the destruction of the 2010 earthquake. In the aftermath of the earthquake, local and outside groups have made concerted efforts to address the ophthalmic disease burden and eye care needs exacerbated by the breakdown in infrastructure and human resources.
There is an authentic need for resident education and faculty development in Haiti. The OGSH can make a major impact and significant contribution here. Dr. Roberto Pineda, MEE/Harvard Faculty
The Ophthalmology residency training program at HUEH, Haiti’s largest public hospital and cornerstone of its public healthcare system, is the only such program in the country and is tasked with producing the next generation of modern-trained Ophthalmologists in Haiti. As there are currently only 66 Ophthalmologists practicing in Haiti today, concentrated in the capital city and subject to the push/pull retention issues described as “brain drain”, this task is both challenging and critical. This first faculty visit served as both academic module and orientation, providing Mass Eye and Ear faculty an intimate look at the state of ENT and Ophthalmology in Haiti and the young residents who are poised to become its future.
Hosted by Dr. Jean-Claude Cadet, HUEH Ophthalmologist and Dean of the School of Medicine at the State University of Haiti, Dr. Roberto Pineda presented an academic module focused on anterior segment and ocular surface for the HUEH Ophthalmology residents. The three-year training program has 6 residents per year and provides the major staffing for the HUEH Ophthalmology clinic, which sees approximately 1000 patients each week. In addition to lecturing on pterygium, keratoconus, and providing an overview on refractive surgery, Dr. Pineda joined the residents for patient consultations and instructed residents in the operating theater on eye block techniques and management of pterygium. Addressing needs that Dr. Pineda identified with Dr. Cadet on an earlier site visit, Dr. Pineda demonstrated the use of a stereoacuity tester and color plates, which he donated along with an indirect ophthalmoscope to expand resources for clinical examinations. The OGSH and the Ophthalmology Faculty at HUEH are currently planning their next academic module and ways in which the program may become a more valuable offsite resource through distance learning, participation in Grand Rounds at MEE, and research mentorship and collaborations.
Our thanks to Dr. Cadet and the rest of the Ophthalmology faculty at HUEH as well as the residents for their great engagement and dedication.