Giving the Gift of Sight
Mwenge Primary school, Kimamba-Kilosa, about 260 km from Dar es Salaam very generously threw open its school gates and turned part of its school building into a temporary screening centre and hosted a free Eye Camp from the 27th-29th September, 2013. Ground teams had liaised with school administration staff to facilitate the running of the camp and volunteers had arrived a day earlier to set up the clinic.
A nine hour journey from Dar es Salaam ensued for medical staff. 9 optometrists donated their time to facilitate the screening of 1981 patients wherein 1,416 pairs of glasses were prescribed. 164 people received sunglasses of which 113 sunglasses were given to patients who underwent cataract surgeries. 1059 units of eye drops/ointments were prescribed to patients for various complaints. 178 received multivitamins and 23 received Vitamin A and one received Folic Acid. Each surgeries patient received 3 units of eye drops.
Alarmingly, it was found that 1 in 10 patients screened had matured cataracts that could have been treated far earlier if screened. These patients had been suffering unnecessary impaired vision for years.
3 eye surgeons and their 5 supporting staff carried out 114 cataract operations. 2 patients have particularly heart-warming stories: One female patient had been forced to give up work as her cataracts had caused blindness and she had been unable to work for 8 years. The surgery gave her back the gift of sight and she has now returned to employment. Another male patient had been blind for 10 years and after regaining the sight in one eye refused to leave the hospital until the other eye was also operated on. 10 years of blindness lifted by the donation of just £40/ cataract.
Thank you to BMM Tanzania and their team for organising the eye camp.