Each year, in Afghanistan, 80-100 children are diagnosed with retinoblastoma (Rb). There are however no established Rb treatment centers in the country, leading to significant morbidity and mortality in the region.
The International Assistance Mission (IAM) is a non-profit organization that aims to improve eye-care services in Afghanistan through the National Organization for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation (NOOR) referral centers. While the organization trains eye care specialists to help end preventable blindness in Afghanistan, they lack the ability to treat retinoblastoma.
Several renowned medical centers exist in the neighboring country, Pakistan, offering a wide range of advanced medical services such as multimodality imaging, diagnostics, and advanced treatments for children with Rb.
The Retinoblastoma Silk Road Program aims to create an official referral pathway from NOOR centers in Afghanistan to specialized Rb treatment centers in Pakistan. Logistically, both countries are divided geographically into north and south, with patients from Kandahar and Herat being referred to Karachi, and patients from Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul being referred to Lahore.
Our selective group includes ophthalmologists from NOOR in Afghanistan along with paediatric oncologists and ophthalmologists from Rb treatment centers in Lahore and Karachi, Pakistan.
Additionally, we have members of the of the Rb-NET who serve as coordinators as well as provide valuable assistance through telemedicine consultation in addressing diagnostic and treatment challenges for these children.
The Retinoblastoma Silk Road Program welcomes donations to support Afghan patients and their families who are unable to afford the expenses associated with traveling between the two regions. For further information and to make a donation, please reach out to email@example.com via email.