NHS Fife Diabetic eye screening Service (DES) Team Leader Lynsey Scott, and Dr Caroline Styles, Consultant Ophthalmologist/Lead Clinician for DES were invited on aWorld Health Organization (WHO) mission to Kyrgyzstan travelled to Bishkek, capital city of Kyrgyzstan, at the end of April for five days, to work with local teams of nurses and doctors to develop a diabetic eye screening programme. 

The training provided by Lynsey, Caroline and two other colleagues from Belfast (Professor Tunde Peto) and the WHO Health Programme (Dr Sue Cohen), focussed on all aspects of diabetic eye screening.  Lynsey and Sue worked with a group of 8 nurses, advising them on best practice for the set up of clinic rooms, training them in capturing good quality retinal images, identifying diabetic retinopathy on the images and development of a clinical pathway for patients.  Caroline and Tunde worked with a group of doctors, providing training on the use of slit lamps, training on the use of laser for severe diabetic retinopathy and development of image grading and referral thresholds.

When asked what she had enjoyed most about the trip, Lynsey said she had found the team she had worked with to be so enthusiastic, eager to learn and very welcoming and friendly.  Despite having to work through translators, the main language spoken being Russian, rapport was quickly developed and a great sense of camaraderie and purpose was felt in building up skills and experience in diabetic eye screening.  The WHO team were treated to some wonderful lunches in neighbourhood restaurants, sampling the local cuisine, particularly dumplings!  The least enjoyable part had been the long journey to get there, over 20 hours, as Kyrgyzstan borders China. 

Well done to Lynsey and Dr Styles for the important work they doing for people of Kyrgystan we are very proud of you we look forward to  learning more about this work in the upcoming WHO report.

Below are some photos of Lynsey and Caroline with the Kyrgyzstan nursing and medical teams, and some photos from around Bishkek, with a glimpse of the mountain crests which surround the city.

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