Feb 20, 2018

FIRST HCP OUTREACH OF 2018 IN BORENA, ETHIOPIA

First surgical outreach of the year results in 232 surgeries

The Himalayan Cataract Project’s first cataract outreach of 2018 provided surgery to 232 people between January 1st-6th. A team from Arba Minch managed the outreach in Yabelo, the zonal capital town of Borena, Ethiopia. A total 1,367 patients were screened, resulting in the 232 surgeries - 187 Cataract Surgeries and 45 Trachoma Trichiasis surgeries.

In Ethiopia, HCP provides:

  • Direct Service: HCP is reducing the backlog of cataract blindness by working with 11 partners to conduct outreach programs that target remote rural areas and provide field-based training opportunities. Since 2008, HCP has directly supported 106 high-volume cataract campaigns resulting in 17,318 cataract surgeries.
  • Training: HCP continues to increase utilization of eye care services by building a network of skilled, dedicated eye care professionals providing accessible, high-quality cataract and ophthalmic care. Since 2008, HCP has trained 323 ophthalmic personnel working at all levels of eye care in Ethiopia.
  • Infrastructure: HCP is making tremendous strides in developing a sustainable eye care infrastructure in Ethiopia by supporting the development and equipping of eye care facilities, and promoting the development of local centers of eye care excellence.
Dec 27, 2017

SUCCESSFUL CATARACT OUTREACH IN WOLDIYA, ETHIOPIA

Happy patients after patches are removed
Happy patients after patches are removed

High-volume cataract outreach at Woldiya Hospital results in 953 sight restoring surgeries

In just five days time, a team comprised of HCP Affiliated Ophthalmologists, in-country personnel, HCP staff and volunteers performed and assisted in a total of 953 sight restoring cataract surgeries. In attendance was HCP Board Member, Dr. Matt Oliva; Wake Forest University Associate Professor and Ophthalmologist, Dr. Matthew Giegengack; Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology's Head of Glaucoma Clinic & Research Department, Dr. Suman Thapa; and Emory Eye Center's Global Ophthalmology Fellow, Fran Wu, all of whom traveled to Woldiya, Ethiopia to work with Woldiya Hospital Cataract Surgeon, Dr. Abraham Aregay, for the outreach campaign from October 9-15.

 

The following are a few patient stories captured at this outreach:

Desale, 15 year old boy: This young man said he had been blind in his right eye as long as he can remember. He was unable to stay in school, was ridiculed for his blindness by bullies and has not attended class for years. He lives in Woldiya with his family and generally stays at home with his mother as she cooks and cleans. He is a quiet and sweet boy, who was brave and fearless as he entered the operating room and then quietly waited for his turn on the operating table. When his patch was taken off the next day, he quietly scanned the room with a look of astonishment on his face. After awhile he began to smile and started chatting, the most we had seen him do in the two days spent together at the outreach. He said he is most excited to go back to school and stated that he wants to be a teacher. When he becomes a teacher, he hopes to help kids who were like him and protect them from bullies.

40 year old farmer: This man was brought by his brother in-law, who had a cataract in his right eye removed at our June outreach in Arba Minch. He had not had vision in his left eye and was only able to see partially out of his right before arriving from Wichale, about 61 km away. He lives there with his wife and 8 children and farms wheat, corn and beans. After his patches were removed he said he is most happy that his four children, who have been helping on the farm, can now go back to school. They did not go to school because they had to help make a living for their family. After speaking with us he called his family and you could hear cries of joy and excitement from the receiver.

Mother with baby: This mother of eight came to the outreach with her youngest child and husband. As she waited patiently to have her patches removed, Dr. Matt Oliva noticed an eye infection in her almost 2-year-old daughter. With a quick call for eye drops to clear up a case of conjunctivitis, the baby's eye was cleared up by the afternoon. This mother said she is eager to get back to her children and work her cattle once again.

Whelai, 12 year old boy: This young boy came with his father and had a cataract in his left eye. He never looked up the entire time he was at the hospital and was very shy. He had his cataract for 2 years and was unable to go to school because of it. His father is a cattle farmer and his days were mostly spent sitting in a field waiting for his father to finish herding. He said he is most looking forward to going back to school and making friends, and he now wants to be a doctor when he grows up.

Martha, 67 year old woman: Martha came with her son and had been blind from cataracts for about 2 years. She said the hardest part of being blind was having to rely on someone for everything. She said, "When I was blind I just ate food people put in my hands without even knowing what it was. Now I can eat my favorite foods and choose them myself. You {HCP} took me out of the darkness and now I am alright! I can go back to church all by myself and thank God for giving me sight back."

Desale waiting for surgery
Desale waiting for surgery
Desale after surgery, his sight restored
Desale after surgery, his sight restored
40 year old farmer, with his sight restored
40 year old farmer, with his sight restored
Mother with baby
Mother with baby
Whelai after his patches were removed
Whelai after his patches were removed
Martha
Martha
Dec 7, 2017

RECORD BREAKING CATARACT OUTREACH IN GHANA

HCP Ghanaian Partners complete two successful cataract campaigns, providing 619 sight restoring surgeries

In November, HCP supported two cataract outreach campaigns in Ghana. The first outreach was held in the western region of Ghana, in Sefwi-Wiawso and Tarkwa. Led by Dr. Boateng Wiafe, who is also affiliated with Canadian NGO Operation EyeSight Universal, 175 surgeries were performed, including 5 pediatric surgeries. The following is a short patient story captured at this outreach:

Maame had been bilaterally blind for over 2 years. She resisted having to travel far away from home to get treatment at the outreach. When her children brought her, she only agreed to have her left eye operated on. After her surgery she was able to see her 2 year old granddaughter for the first time. Filled with joy, she asked to be added to the list of patients the following day to have the cataract in her right eye removed. Pledged to return with four friends from her village who needed surgery, and she thanked everyone who made it possible for people like her to regain their sight.

The second outreach effort was in Keta, located in the Volta Region of Ghana, and we had our largest outreach in Ghana to date providing 444 sight restoring surgeries, November 13 - 17! 

This outreach was led collaboratively by teams from Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital including Dr. Frimpong, Dr. Raymond, Dr. Aikins, Dr. Fordjour, HCP super volunteer James Garrett and HCP Affiliated Ophthalmologist Dr. John Welling. We were also lucky to have a wonderful group of guests and volunteers from Alder Security, based in Orem, Utah, who provided support to the surgical teams and captured the beautiful photos provided here. The group included CEO Adam Schanz, Mitch Hamilton, James Edwards, Nathan Schanz, Jake Dahl and Photographer Kevin Cox. James Edwards had this to say about his experience:

“My experience in Ghana with HCP was nothing short of life changing. I knew before hand we would be working hard and with a lot of people who live in poverty. I had no idea that meant starting our day before the sun rises and ending it well past when the sun sets, working with hundreds and hundreds of men, women and children. Hoards of people came from all over to see these doctors in hopes of fixing their eyesight. Witnessing their hope and eagerness to see again was inspiring. Just as amazing as these people coming from all over the country was that the doctors performing these cataract surgeries would sit in the operating room for hours on end. Never leaving their station. Working relentlessly and consistently in getting as many eye surgeries done as possible. I was blown away with these doctors commitment to these people that they didn’t know. It was one of the most beautiful and self sacrificing things I’ve ever seen. It gave me a huge desire to come out and do this again. I can’t explain the amount of gratitude I had for being apart of this and working with these people. It’s beyond words. I can’t wait to do it again.”


 

 
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