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The 90th Anniversary of Mongolian Eye Care Service

Publication date:2018-11-03
 
By Tae Namba (AMDA Headquarters)

On 04 October 2018, Prof. Hiroko Takasaki of Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare (Japan) and I had the honor of being invited to the 90th Anniversary Reception of Mongolian Eye Care Service held in Ulaanbaatar. The event was held to commemorate the history of ophthalmology in Mongolia.

Prof. Takasaki, who heads the Department of Sensory Science Orthoptist Course at the said university, has been an avid contributor to the series of AMDA Ophthalmologic Mission in the nation since 2008.

In 2008, AMDA began providing free catalyst surgery to the country's elderly people. Following the catalyst surgery project, Dr. Bulgan, the incumbent Ophthalmology Department Director at the Mongolian Ministry of Health, commissioned AMDA to provide assistance toward uplifting the visual health of Mongolian children. Since 2012, every summer a team of eye experts, led by Prof. Takasaki and orthoptist Ms. Yoshie Morita, has provided an eye examination around Ulaanbaatar, seeing more than 1,500 school children thus far.

Meanwhile, Ulaanbaatar Ophthalmologist Society and AMDA continued to call for the institutionalization of eye examination targeting pre-school children. This bore fruit in 2017 and as a result, Mongolian Health Ministry set every third-Sunday of September as “Children’s Eye Day”. The eye check-up is now conducted annually around the country. 

In acknowledgment of AMDA’s decade of untiring work, on 03 September 2018, the Vice Health Minister of Mongolia presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Prof. Takasaki, Ms. Morita and AMDA. 

 

At the opening of the Anniversary Reception, in front of more than 200 participants, as an AMDA representative I was given the opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Prof. Baasankhuu (Mongolian University of Health Sciences) for playing a leading role in the development of Mongolian ophthalmology and always supporting our organization; to Dr. Bulgan for all the great work she has done for Mongolian children; and to all the doctors and eye specialists who offered cooperation along the way.

In the afternoon session, Prof. Takasaki gave a presentation to explicate some of her findings in the last three years and addressed the arising needs pertaining to the visual health of Mongolian children. Her findings include: 1) 14% of all 506 six-year-old students had some kind of visual abnormality, 2) half of such cases could be dealt with by wearing an appropriate pair of glasses, 3) the rest of the half were suffering from either amblyopia or strabismus. Especially, amblyopia was relatively high (4.7%) compared to the world average of 2-3%. In addition, refraction abnormalities such as distorted vision, nearsightedness and farsightedness accounted for 30% of all abnormality cases. 

Thus, Prof. Takasaki stressed that early detection and treatment of visual problems are a must when a child is three to four years old. She also stated that there is no regional gap between urban and provincial areas in regards to the deterioration of visual acuity as portable video game devices have widely pervaded the nation.



AMDA activities were also featured in the memorial leaflet.

The reception also became a place to reunite with some of AMDA’s past collaborators. Seeing each one of them brought me to realize the significance of our 10 years of efforts as a lot of doctors who had worked with AMDA came to greet us: the director of ophthalmology department at Ulaanbaatar Children’s Hospital recalled the time when she was keenly trying to promote the importance of children’s eye check-up to the Ministry of Health; the head of an ophthalmologic clinic, where AMDA organized a seminar on the importance of spectacles, expressed her hope for AMDA to hold the second event. 

Last but not least, Mongolian Health Minister Her Excellency Ms. Serangerel gave her kind words to our organization for our years of contribution: “I remember AMDA very well and I am truly thankful to your great deeds.” 

 
 

The 90th Anniversary Reception of Mongolian Eye Care Service
    •  GPSP Medical Mission (Promotion of Health)
    •  Primary Health Care & Promotion of Health Awareness (Promotion of Health)
    •  Mongolia
    •  2018
    •  GPSP

 
 
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