Baby Aldo, a premature baby is at risk of blindness.
The East Timor Eye Program’s Founder, Dr Nitin Verma fashions a makeshift tool for holding open eyelids out of the looped ends of a paper clip, sterilises it and very gently uses it to inspect baby Aldo’s eyes. For moments, Baby Aldo’s concerned parents watch on with worry.
Dr Verma looks up and gives two thumbs up to the young parents. Relieved, Aldo’s parents Agus Linu dos Santos and Luisa Lilman Alves leave the Hospital with baby Aldo, who was at high risk of developing blindness before being seen by the eye team.
This year, the East Timor Eye Program are training budding Timorese ophthalmologists in paediatric ophthalmology and diseases such as retinopathy of prematurity, a disease that occurs in premature babies. Timor-Leste has high rates of paediatric health issues with one in 12 children dying before the age of five from poor neonatal health and preventable diseases and these skills are essential to ensure the best start to life for these babies.