Dr. Ashvini Reddy recently visited Cochabamba, Bolivia – due to change in her work schedule, she could spare some time around July 4th for a few days – she asked, and working with her and our collaborators in Bolivia, we made it happen!
Below is an interview we conducted with Dr. Reddy on her return from Cochabamba. – Ed
What made you decide to go to Cochabamba to participate in the BOLDR project?
I have an interest in international ophthalmology, especially in retina disease, so it was a great opportunity.
How did you hear of Retina Global?
I read about it on the internet and reached out to Retina Global administrator.
What do you think of the work of Retina Global?
Retina Global does some fabulous work!
How was your experience while in Cochabamba?
My experience in Cochabamba was excellent! The hosts were lovely! There were many patients with interesting conditions!
Have you ever visited Bolivia or Cochabamba before? What was the highlight of your visit to Cochabamba?
I had not visited Bolivia prior to this trip. The highlight of my trip was working with the community ophthalmologists to see patients.
Working outside your routine place of work presents its challenges. Did you face any challenges while in Cochabamba? If so, what do you think needs to be done to reduce those challenges?
The only challenge I faced was with a flight delay – I had a great experience overall.
What do you think can be done more to make the project successful?
I think reaching out to more people in the community could help the project grow.
Did the trip and the work meet your expectations?
Do you plan to go to Cochabamba again? If so, when?
I would love to return in the next year or anytime I am needed.
What will you say to potential volunteers who wish to follow you to Cochabamba to work on this project?
I would tell them that it is a great experience!
Why do you think more people should volunteer on these missions?
Outreach is a fantastic opportunity in ophthalmology. There are many communities in the world where access to care has been limited where physicians can make a great difference in the lives of others.
During this trip, due to a delayed incoming flight, Dr. Reddy missed her connection to La Paz in Bogota, Colombia, and had to spend a night in Bogota before catching the next day’s flight to La Paz. On arrival early in the morning, having missed her previous day’s flight, she was told that she will only be able to fly out to Cochabamba on the evening flight! Somehow, she was able to convince the airlines agents and managed to get on the first flight out of La Paz to Cochabamba! In spite of all that delay, and hassles, Dr. Reddy reached the eye clinic as soon as possible and started examining patients. With a day lost in transit, there were significant number of patients waiting to see her – she went about the work – finishing only by 2pm before heading out to lunch! We admire you commitment and work ethics, Dr Reddy! – Ed