More than 80 corneal transplants have been completed at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC] in Guyana.
These surgical operations were completed with support from Zara Realty's George Subraj Family Foundation at no cost to patients.
The Foundation is one that was founded several years ago by business mogul and philanthropist, George Subraj, who passed away in November 2016.
However, his family has ever since given assurance that Subraj’s philanthropic legacy will be sustained here, his homeland.
The collaboration between the GPHC and the Foundation has been allowing for many deserving patients with damaged corneas to regain their sight.
The cornea is the eye’s clear, protective outer layer. If the cornea is damaged by disease, infection or an injury, the resulting scars can affect the vision which can manifest by the blockage or distortion of light as it enters the eye.
The Subraj Foundation since 2015 has been funding free corneal transplants at the institution by providing free corneal tissues and inviting corneal specialists from the United States to train local surgeons to perform the needed procedure. The Foundation has also been providing the needed instruments and consumables.
Renowned Eye Surgeon, Dr. Joseph Pasternak, has been one of the key persons affiliated with the Foundation who has been helping to coordinate the surgical procedures here. Dr. Pasternak has been working closely with GPHC’s Head of Ophthalmology, Dr. Shailendra Sugrim to realize the many successful procedures.
The Foundation has also been benefiting from other key members including: Tony Subraj [son of George Subraj] and friends Richard B. Mahase and Jay Jainarine who have according to information have several trips planned for the New Year which will see the Foundation members traveling across Guyana to facilitate medical outreaches for the overall health of Guyanese.
The members of the Foundation, among whom are Subraj’s wife, Gloria, and daughter, Jasmine, have been helping to ensure that the Foundation realise its main goal to give back to Guyanese, particularly in the area of health care.
This has manifested by the Foundations efforts to not only lend support to the GPHC to offer crucial eye care but kidney transplant surgeries too.
Speaking directly to the eye care support, Dr. Sugrim said that because of the sustained support from the Foundation the public hospital currently has three local surgeons capable of performing corneal transplants independently.
“With this in place, the Foundation was able to send four shipments of corneal tissues so that the local surgeons could have performed sight-saving surgeries for Guyanese,” said Dr. Sugrim. With this level of support a total of 12 transplant surgeries were performed during the latter half of 2018. This development translated to three transplants being conducted in June, four in August, three in October and another two this month.
The surgeries were conducted by Dr. Sugrim and doctors, Celeste Hinds and Jenell Sarju-Kanhai, all trained ophthalmology surgeons, along with the dedicated team of nurses of the GPHC’s Eye Theatre.
According to Dr. Sugrim, with the support from the Foundation a total of 84 corneal transplants have been successfully conducted at the GPHC to date.
Prior to 2015, patients would usually have to travel overseas to have these procedures performed.