Accommodation and Volunteer Information:
- Lodging will be provided to volunteers at no cost at an apartment in the clinic. Volunteers are responsible for cost of meals and incidentals.
- Volunteer is responsible to arrange and pay for roundtrip flight.
- Complimentary airport transportation will be made available at the beginning and end of the stay.
- Volunteers should obtain temporary traveler's health insurance for the duration of their stay.
- Visit CIA World Factbook and CDC Travelers' Health to learn more about traveling to Kosovo.
- Provided by Project HOPE
- Standard Project HOPE t-shirt, hat, and reusable nametag
Minimum of 2 weeks
ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) is a disease that occurs in premature babies. Generally speaking, if not detected early through a screening process it leads to complete blindness. This is a common problem especially as the newborns' survival rate increases, which is why in Kosovo it has become a national problem now (beforehand babies were not surviving!). Although there is no accurate data, it is estimated that approximately 200 babies per year need to be treated for ROP.
The need for screening for ROP has been addressed by Neonatology Intensive Care Unit (NICU) since early 2015. Considering long term cooperation with Action for Mothers and Children (AMC), a civil society organization that supports maternal and child health efforts in Kosovo, NICU has addressed the issue to AMC to seek for support. While both stakeholders were developing the project proposal for MoH and UCCK, a journalist creates media panic attacking the clinic for not addressing the issue earlier.
After the media buzz, NICU and AMC took the leadership to bring all the stakeholders in one table where through a multidisciplinary approach we come up with a solution. In the meeting there was a representative from Maternal and Child Health Dept. from the MoH, the director of UCCK, the director of NICU and the director of the Ophthalmology Clinic (OC).
After the initial meeting, the below needs were identified:
1. There was a lack of staff capacity in UCCK (specialized ophthalmologists for ROP) who could do the ROP screening at NICU
2. There was a lack of protocols and microsystems that encourage ROP screening
3. There was a lack of equipment needed for ROP screening
1. AMC immediately conducted an informal research on the human capacities available in Kosovo for ROP screening. They identified that the private clinic "Kubati" has two specialized doctors for ROP. Kubati agreed to provide their staff's time for free for a period of 8-12 months within NICU in UCCK and train the staff of OC so they continue to do the screening after one year;
2. Agreements have been concluded with both parties that regulate this cooperation;
3. The volunteer doctors went once to twice per week at NICU and did screening for premature babies for free, while at the same time had the appointed team from the OC joining them and receiving in-site training with the purpose to build capacities within OC at UCCK;
4. Until the equipment from MoH was secured, the volunteer staff from Kubati brought their own equipment and disposables;
5. MoH has purchased the equipment for ROP screening which is now available at OC;
6. Agreement with Kubati lasted until December 31, 2016 under the expectations that:
a. The OC builds the staff capacities for ROP screening (through the in-site training provided during this year)
b. The MoH and UCCK purchase the equipment needed the latest by the end of the year
c. Protocols developed through this cooperation continue
In sum, the screening for ROP has started for the first time in Kosovo. The national problem has been addressed.