February 05, 2021
1 min read
Cropsey J. COVID and post-COVID ophthalmic care in Central Africa. Presented at: Glaucoma 360 New Horizons Forum; Jan. 30, 2021 (virtual meeting).
Cropsey reports he serves as the director of the Hope Africa Eye Care International Referral Center.
Residents of Burundi have been spared from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic so far, according to a speaker at the virtual Glaucoma 360 New Horizons Forum.
“Burundi and large parts of Africa have a very low average age. Burundi is also one of the hungriest countries in the world, which means we have very low rates of obesity and very low rates of diabetes. All of those factors play into decreased morbidity from COVID,” John Cropsey, MD, of Hope Africa University Medical School, Hope Africa Eye Care International Referral Center, said. “Also, everyone is working. … Most people are outside. That probably limits spread quite a bit in an equatorial setting.”
In the absence of an ICU, Cropsey and his team made a lot of tough decisions regarding patient care, often coming down to making the best out of what they had after the initial lockdown. In glaucoma surgical care specifically, the team became creative, using bleb needling and tube shunts after running out of mitomycin C.
Cropsey said they also took other proactive measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 and quell the fear Burundi residents had of the “disease of foreigners.” This included community education initiatives via informational fliers, combined efforts creating homemade personal protective equipment and implementation of increased sanitary measures.
“Despite no post-COVID situation being in sight, because a place like Burundi is one of the poorest places in the world, there’s really no vaccine on the horizon for us,” Cropsey said. “We’re kind of learning to just live with COVID.”