Friday, February 12, 2010

A Saudi problem, and a potential solution

From Arab News:
The only clinic for visually impaired people in Saudi Arabia has been closed since last month because there is no trained optometrist or ophthalmologist to help run it.

The clinic’s last optometrist, who was there for the last two years, left as she received a better job offer elsewhere.

Mohammad Tawfiq Bellow, who is the founder and general manager of Ebsar Foundation which runs the clinic, says getting the right person is not easy as special training is required. Those who are trained prefer to work in hospitals because of better perks and financial security.

“Working in a voluntary organization like Ebsar requires commitment to society, which is difficult to find,” said Bellow, who founded Ebsar in 2001 after losing his job because of low vision.

“This is the missing part of our medical education system. It fails to motivate our professionals to perform community service.”

I bet that if he asks Israeli ophthalmologists to volunteer, he would not only find someone willing to work there but also a bunch of Jewish philanthropists who would happily bankroll the clinic in the interests of peace and goodwill.

The only downside is that he would probably get death threats and the clinic would likely be bombed.