Sancti Spiritus Otoniel Felipe Guardarrama, Neonatology specialist and MSc on Integrated Children Care, is one of three Cuban doctors attending the Third International Workshop on Retinopathy of Prematurity to be held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, from September 8 to 11.
“In recent years the world has been promoting programs to prevent childhood blindness. In Cuba retinologists and neonatologists training started in 2004 to follow up premature infants in each province”, explains Felipe Guardarrama.
“All babies weighing less than 1700 grams and born before 32 weeks are examined carefully, given the risk they have of developing retinopathy of prematurity, because the embryonic development of the eye is not complete and children risk retinal detachment, a fact that can turn into a total loss of vision”, said the physician.
With a team that includes ophthalmologists and nurses, the exhaustive research shows encouraging results in Sancti Spiritus since treatments began in the territory in 2007.
“Previously we had to move patients to Havana, which brought about complications because we were dealing with infants with special conditions given the early birth, but once implemented the methods in the province, of the 14 children seen only one lacks adequate vision because his critical health condition prevented the move to the capital to receive the treatment required for the specific diagnosis.
“Thanks to the work of the ophthalmologist in charge of carrying the program and the nurses, who tirelessly monitor the evolution of the newborn, there is no chance of escaping a case of retinopathy of prematurity, a fact which helps to ensure not only the baby’s health in the early stages of life, but also his/her future development when they enter society, “says the specialist.
With respect to the international event in which he will represent Cuba, the doctor reported that they intend to discuss on the progress of the program also implemented in other Latin American countries, and said that it is a free service to all nations, thanks to the responsibility of governments and non-governmental organizations committed to fund the treatments for children, and which count on excellent specialists as absolute guarantee to sharpen their visual skills.