Abigail Klein Leichman
August 31, 2023

Experts from around the world gathered last week in Mombasa, Kenya, to address pressing issues related to eye cancer in Africa at the International Society of Ocular Oncology conference.

Sheba Medical Center’s Prof. Ido Didi Fabian, an ocular oncologist who has gone on many medical humanitarian missions, initiated the event on behalf of cosponsor Sheba Global Ophthalmology, an initiative dedicated to promoting equity in global eyecare.

Eye cancer specialists fly to Kenya for global confab
Dr. Ido Didi Fabian of Sheba Medical Center in Kenya at the International Society of Ocular Oncology conference. Photo by Amital Isaac

Fabian and colleague Dr. Mattan Arazi gave lectures on knowledge dissemination, skill development, capacity building and public awareness.

The main form of eye cancer of concern in the region, according to Sheba, is retinoblastoma.

“Many babies in Africa do not survive this highly curable malignancy due to poor education, financial constraints, a lack of specialists, and limited access to care,” the doctors explained.

“However, by fostering comprehensive universal education, we have the incredible opportunity to bridge this gap in knowledge and improve the outcomes for affected individuals.”

At the conference, attendees learned about innovative technologies in retinoblastoma detection using artificial intelligence, as well as advanced techniques and treatments such as intra-arterial chemotherapy and biopsy techniques.

“Our focus is tackling clinical hurdles in ocular oncology, pediatric cancer, and global health across Africa,” said Arazi on the first day of the conference. “A global convergence of experts spanning continents — USA, South America, Asia, Canada, Indonesia, and more. We are eager to contribute and disseminate invaluable insights for the betterment of African communities.”

Arazi continued, “I’m really excited to be part of this event and share this valuable knowledge that we’ve all acquired together in order to help empower African communities.”

Sheba Global Ophthalmology’s mission is to provide universal education to address health inequities. “We strive to train local eyecare providers, empowering them to deliver basic eyecare services and identify cases that require specialized care. By equipping local communities with the knowledge and skills to address their eye health needs, our educational efforts can significantly reduce disparities in eyecare provision worldwide, as well as establish sustainable eyecare services.”

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