On behalf of the Himalayan Cataract Project, I would like to thank you for joining us in our mission to fight curable and preventable blindness in the developing world. It is through your generous contribution that we are able to bring world-class eye care to the most remote regions of the world. Below is a quick update from the field.
Kete Krachi situated in the northern part of the Volta region is one of the poorest and most remote districts in Ghana. The communication network in the district is poor and access to the district capital is through dirt bumpy road which are almost impassable during the rainy season.The district is a peninsula surrounded by the lake Volta and the only connection to the rest of the country is by crossing the Volta Lake using a platoon or a boat. There are two ophthalmic nurses stationed in the district .However there is no ophthalmologist in the whole of the Volta region.
In 2008 the ophthalmic nurses first approached the Himalayan Cataract project to assist with the many blind people they had been seeing in their clinic. Therefore an Outreach Micro-surgical Camp (OMEC) was organized for the people to help restore the sight of the people during which over 140 surgeries were performed and sight restored to many of them.
From June 22nd to June 24th 2010, another OMEC was again organized by the Himalayan Cataract Project and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH). In the previous week, 900 people ages 45 and above had been screened by the team from Kete Krachi. They found over 140 blind people all over the district. A few were unwilling to have surgeries performed on their eyes. But most of them could not afford the transport cost to come to the district hospital to have their sight restored even for free The Team from KATH traveled 6 hours by a dirt bumpy road to the Volta lake side and then crossed the lake by a small motor boat with their equipments and consumables to meet up with the Krachi team.
During 3 ½ days of surgery, over 90 surgeries were performed to restore sight to the blind. Many of the patients seen were people who were completely blind from cataract. Transport was made available on all the days to convey patients from their homes to the hospital and back home.
One such patient was called David Soglo a 56 years old man who is a farmer from Wa in the upper west region. He had been blind in both eyes for 6 years and he had a 6-year-old child whose face he had never seen since he was born. David, who uses a white cane donated by an NGO, was unable to farm on his land since he became blind. He could not provide for his family and he had to rely on his wife, friends, and other charities for food and shelter. He had sometimes been compelled to go begging to survive. David had not even heard about the ongoing screening of adults for eye problems in his village because he was always at home and did not have a radio to hear the announcement. So he did not attend the screening that was going on in his village. Fortunately after one of the screening team members asked another person if there were any blind persons in his village, and he was led to Soglo’s house. When he examined David, he found that David was blind from cataract in both eyes. David was assisted to get to the district hospital where surgery was performed to remove the cataract in his eye.
After the surgery Soglo was amazed that he could now see again. He was so excited he did not want to stay the extra night in the hospital .He just wanted to get home to share his joy with his family and see them again. When he got home the entire village came out to have a celebration with him for his restored sight
There were many similar stories like that of David Soglo.
One 75-year-old woman Hawa was blind in her only eye. She like many others had a white cane and had to be assisted to move around. After surgery Hawa could now see. Her excitement was evident and she is also anxious to get back home to see her grandchildren.
In three and a half days, 903 patients were screened and 91 surgeries were performed. Over the past two years, 230 people had their sight restored in Kete Krachi.
On behalf of the Himalayan Cataract Project, I would like to thank you for joining us in our mission to fight curable and preventable blindness in the developing world. It is through your generous contribution that we are able to bring world-class eye care to the most remote regions of the world.
The Himalayan Cataract Project and Tilganga Institute of ophthalmology have been organizing Outreach Microsurgical Eye Clinics (OMECs) to extend eye care are services in the under served regions of Nepal and India for more than a decade.
From February 25th to 27th 2010, an OMEC was carried out at Jagadguru Kripalu Charity hospital at Managarh-UP, India. A total of 2,181 patients were examined and one doctor and five support staff performed 520 cataract surgeries.
On the 24th and 25th of March another OMEC was organized in Pakhribas in eastern Nepal. A total of 1,363 patients were examined and two surgeons performed 125 cataract surgeries.
On March 30th and 31st an OMEC was carried out in a very remote area of eastern Nepal near Kanchanjangha Mountain region. After trekking three and half days the team examined close to 1,000 patients and performed 81 cataract surgeries The Himalayan Cataract Project co-founders Dr. Geoff Tabin and Dr. Sanduk Ruit were part of the team.
Between April 20th and 22nd, Tilganga organized an OMEC in Dhobi, Ramecchap. During the two days, 554 people were screened and 89 surgeries were performed. In May, an Outreach Camp was conducted in Dolakha and after screening 408 people, 106 sight-restoring surgeries were performed.
Tilganga is planning 14 OMECs between July and December and they expect the total number of surgery to reach 3075.
In response to your support, the HCP would like to express our sincere gratitude for your continued involvement with this project. We greatly appreciate your support in the past and hope that you’ll continue to join us in our efforts to eradicate preventable blindness.
Since 1994, a total of 68,174 sight-restoring surgeries were performed in various Remote Outreach Eye Camps (OMECs) in Nepal, India, Tibet, and Bhutan.
In 2009, the HCP sponsored 7 OMECs in which 7,681 people were screened and 1347 sight restoring surgeries were performed.
Between February 10th and 14th, 11 screening camps were conducted in central Nepal. As a result, 2,858 patients were examined and 581 cataract patients were selected. The following are stories from two patients:
Rajkali Dhanuka a 60-year-old woman from Bara District was very happy when she got her sight back. Before her surgery, she could only hear her grandson’s voice and she felt hurt because she couldn’t see him. She was very eager to see her grandson and she is now very pleased with Dr. Ruit and his team. She said " you (Dr. Ruit) are god, my house is temple and my son and grandsons are holly gods "
Mrs. Dhanamaya Pandey a 70-year-old woman from Makawanpur District used to care for local villagers’ goats and buffaloes daily. Due to her sight loss, she could not continue her work and she spent her days lying in a corner in her house. She heard the notice of the eye camp on local radio and she came to check up her eye, the screening team found cataract as the cause of her sight loss and brought her to the hospital. At first she declined surgery due to fear but after counseling she finally agreed. After surgery she said "if I had rejected surgery my life would be worst, now I am happy I can see every where and every one, I can continue my daily work."