Light in the darkness in North Korea

Dr Reeta Gurung, from Nepal’s Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, was in Korea DPR recently performing sight restoring surgery and training local ophthalmologists.

Dr Gurung was in Pyongyang Eye Hospital and Siniju in the northern provinces. More than 900 surgeries were performed – 499 by Dr Gurung, and the rest by local doctors trained at Tilganga.

The Fred Hollows Foundation, in partnership with Tilganga, has been restoring sight in the country for more than seven years, despite the fact that it is more difficult to access and work in than most countries.

Tom White, the Foundation’s Director of Programs, visited Korea DPR recently and said: "We are really excited to be working in this area and hope to keep addressing the much-needed backlog of people needing surgery.

“This is work that transforms peoples' lives – it helps not just the person having their sight restored, but their families and community too."

As well as training medical staff, Tilganga has been providing equipment for hospital eye units and intra ocular lenses for surgery.

"When organisations such as Tilganga work with hospitals in other developing countries, and say ‘We did this, and now you can too,’ it is a real success story,” White said.

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