In Ifakara, Tanzania between the dates of 10th – 14th October 2014 a free eye camp was held at Lipangalala Primary School. These eye camps were partly sponsored by Beta Charitable Trust and facilitated by Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania who organised volunteers and doctors to treat patients that otherwise have no access to adequate health care. Cataract surgeries were carried out at Ifaraka Government Hospital after the screenings took place.
The team of surgical volunteers embarked on a gruelling 10 hour journey before arriving at the local village where they were cared for by local lodge and hotel owners and caterers. Once set up in the school, 3138 screenings were undertaken where various eye illnesses were diagnosed. These were subsequently treated with the relevant medicines or were prescribed glasses and in the most extreme cases surgery was arranged.
The surgeries were undertaken in the local hospital by Dr. Njau and his team of 5, assisted by the hospitals own staff where necessary. 179 cataract surgeries of varying degrees of complication took place, all successfully and resulting in restored sight for many who had not had good vision for several years. Patients received guidance on how to care for their eyes after the operation and eye drops were administered to help the healing process as well as glasses or sunglasses to protect their eyes. In total 2797 pairs of glasses and sunglasses were prescribed for the patients and 2074 units of specialist medicine were distributed.
At the time of the camp 22 teachers received T-shirts as gifts through the Headmaster and class monitors received special stationery gifts. All pupils received stationery including exercise books, pens, erasers, rulers, pencils, sharpeners, etc to mark the occasion. A football was handed over to the Headmaster of Lipangalala Primary School and two more footballs were given to him for other schools. Thirty one solar table lamps were given to Standard VI pupils of Lihami Primary School and 41 were given to class heads/monitors of Kiongowile Primary School in the presence of Mama Keki a partner of BCT.
Adults received some second hand clothes which were donated and teachers passed out food and drink all day to patients who continued to assemble late into the day.
One hundred and twenty square mosquito nets were also donated for hospitals in the Ifakara Region.
Our thanks go to BMMT for their action to instigate this camp. Sincere thanks also to donors and supporters of the camp and surgeries. We hope that this crucial work can continue in the many other villages in need of such medical care.