From Training Commercial Airline Pilots on Aviation Simulators to Training Cataract Surgeons on Surgical Simulators to Eradicate Cataract Blindness
HelpMeSee is pleased to announce the launch of an innovative new training initiative that uses commercial aviation simulation technology to train new surgeons in developing countries in MSICS, Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery. This initiative will exponentially increase the number of surgeons andcorrective surgeries needed to restore sight to the 20 million plus underserved blind men, women and children around the world who suffer from cataracts.
Cataracts, a curable condition, account for nearly 50% of the world’s blindness today, but due to a severe shortage in trained surgeons in developing countries, the number of existing and new cataract cases seen each year is far greater than the current number of surgeries being performed.
HelpMeSee has reached a major achievement in its mission to train surgeons in developing countries in MSICS, Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery, using commercial, aviation based simulation. The trained surgeons will then train groups of medical specialists that will exponentially grow to the numbers of trained eye surgeons needed to perform the surgeries that will restore the sight to the 20 million plus underserved blind children and adults around the world.
HelpMeSee has a long history of commercial aviation simulation and training. The Founder of HelpMeSee was also the founder and President of Flight Safety International, the company that set the highest standards in the airline industry with aviation simulators and the safety training of commercial airline pilots. HelpMeSee determined the solution to end the massive 20 million backlog of persons blinded by cataracts was to develop a surgical simulator, based on commercial aviation simulation and training, that would allow instructors to train thousands of surgeons to become proficient in the surgical procedure MSICS ,(Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery), a ten minute suturless surgery that can even be performed in remote regions of the world.
HelpMeSee has successfully completed a fundraising, matching gift campaign for $500,000.00 and is currently funding three instructors for three years at its training facility in Mumbai, India. With this funding, HelpMeSee is advancing its Pilot Program and is launching the Simulation MSICS Training Initiative with the three experienced instructors. After successfully testing the simulation based training, the instructors will begin intensive training with small groups of simulator instructors who will lead simulation based MSICS instruction at partner universities, hospitals and training centers.
After successful completion of the MSICS instruction, HelpMeSee will provide the newly trained cataract surgeons with sterile surgical kits to perform the surgeries in the remote areas, along with a cloud based App, developed with Android, for the purposes of recording medical information and follow up consultations to help ensure successful recoveries from the cataract surgeries.
After several years in development, the simulator, based on aviation simulator technology, along with a specialized method of training, including an electronic courseware, is finally ready and has successfully trained the first three instructors. Therefore, this first step in HelpMeSee’s mission to cure cataract blindness has been realized.
Each of the three HelpMeSee simulation training instructors have completed a comprehensive two- month training that included approximately 10 days of HelpMeSee’s Module A Simulation Training. The Module A program includes the first stage of the three part training program for MSICS: the Tunnel Construction Course. The instructors will simultaneously begin training specialist and validating the effectiveness of the training program with an initial group of 26 doctors. These instructors also spent 15 days in intensive instructor training and approximately 15 days in student teaching and observation training and approximately 3 days of instructor training.
These Simulation Training Instructors are critical to the success of HelpMeSee’s groundbreaking simulation training approach to end cataract blindness. The impact of their work will grow exponentially as they begin to train new groups and classes of MSICS Simulation Training Instructors, each of whom will be involved in training new MSICS specialist who will be equipped with the skills and experience needed to perform MSICS, the critical sight restoring surgery.
INTRODUCING THE HELPMESEE INSTRUCTORS
Dr. Bacchav has joined us as Lead instructor and SME. He is a Fellow of Cornea & Microsurgery from Aravind Eye Hospital, Tirunelveli, India, and a senior consultant with eye hospitals in Thane, India. He brings to the table a vast amount of experience of more than 10,000 surgeries across MSICS, Phacoemulsification, LASIK, Cornea and Refractive Surgery. Dr. Bacchav will play a critical role in training and leading the team of Instructors who will in turn train MSIC surgeons. As a subject matter expert (SME), he helps the MSIC surgical simulation development for training purposes.
Dr. Bacchav commented:
“My future goal at HelpMeSee will be to train new instructors as well as Trainees across the globe. In addition to India, I believe we can train 100 instructors in China to begin with and then keep expanding globally. I am happy, fortunate and excited to be an important part of this mission to cure cataract blindness with HelpMeSee.”
Dr. Ashish Bacchav, MBBS, DNB, FAEH
Lead Instructor and SME
Dr. Chetan Ahiwalay, MS
Senior Instructor and SME – Mumbai, IN
Dr. Ahiwalay has joined HelpMeSee as Senior Instructor and SME. He has done Fellowships in Phacoemulsification as well as Medical Retina from Sankara Nethralaya and Aravind Eye Hospital respectively – two of India’s top eye hospitals. In his role at HelpMeSee, he assists Dr. Bacchav in training and managing our team of instructors, besides providing his inputs in developing our MSICS surgical simulators from the training perspective. In addition to his engagement with HelpMeSee, Dr. Ahiwalay also extensively practices cataract and anterior segment surgery, and comes with rich experience in MSICS practice and training.
Dr. Ahiwalay commented:
“What attracted me to HelpMeSee is the mission of eliminating cataract related blindness from those regions of the world where there is no access to quality healthcare due to several reasons, one of the prominent factors being the lack of enough, trained skilled and proficient surgeons and the solution that we offer in the form of a simulation based training program to train enough number of surgeons in a short span of time to cater to these patients.
I have immense faith in MSICS as a procedure to cure cataract blindness, and I believe that simulation based training along with a structured program to support it, can be a solution to this global issue.
I am excited to be a part of the HelpMeSee family and wish to train people across the globe to help them eradicate global cataract related blindness.”
Dr. Sheth has joined HelpMeSee as an Instructor. He comes in with over six years of practice in trust hospitals and private hospitals. In addition, he has worked four years in the field of pharmacovigilance (medical review) at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Mumbai, India. Working along with HelpMeSee’s team of instructors, Dr. Sheth is responsible for training MSICS surgeons, using simulation-based learning system.
Dr. Sheth commented:
“I feel immense pleasure to be part of initial cadre of instructors at HelpMeSee, which has a vision to create a good number of eye specialists who can perform MSICS which will help to resolve the back log of cataract blindness and serve the world.”
In future, I see myself taking this training program globally and develop many centers around the world to fight against the blindness just because of lack of doctors available to perform surgery.”
Dr. Tejas Sheth, MBBS, MS
Instructor – Mumbai, IN
With Your support, HelpMeSee will use your gifts to increase the number of instructors and trainee surgeons and sustain the Pilot Program established in India and will expand this groundbreaking work globally. With your help and support, together, You and HelpMeSee will strive to end the global crises of cataract blindness affecting millions of underserved children and adults around the world.
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If you would like to speak to someone at HelpMeSee or have questions, contact our Senior Director of Development, Steven Moore at 212.221.7682 or through: