May 22, 2017

Outreach in Rural Uttar Pradesh, India

Patients awaiting cataract surgery
Patients awaiting cataract surgery

The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology and the Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj Hospital (JGC) were recognized in the online Indian news outlet Live Uttar Pradesh for their collaborative work conducting an eye camp in Mangarh, India. The 4-day surgical campaign took place from March 4th-7th, during which 708 cataract patients received sight-restoring surgery.

The event was led by Tilganga’s Dr. Govinda Paudyal and Dr. Sridevi Das of Madhya Pradesh, who performed the surgeries and provided treatment to eight additional patients with non-cataract related eye problems.

The free eye treatment camp was inaugurated by the President of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj, Smt Dr Vishakha Tirpathi along with council members Shayma Tirpathi and Krishna Tirpati.

Post-op patients receiving sunglasses
Post-op patients receiving sunglasses
Apr 11, 2017

Outreaches in Southern and Western Ethiopia

Geoff Tabin in Arbaminch
Geoff Tabin in Arbaminch

A surgical outreach intervention held at Arbaminch General Hospital in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) region from March 20-25th provided 981 cataract surgeries. The surgical team consisted of HCP co-founder Dr. Geoff Tabin, Dr. Demoze of Hawassa University, Abraham Aregay of Woldiya Hospital, HCP Volunteer Timmy O’Neill and visiting staff from other Ethiopian partners, including Quiha Zonal Hospital, Hawassa University, Mekele Hospital, Jimma University and Peace Corps. HCP and its 10 implementing partners in Ethiopia are working to reduce the backlog of cataract blindness. It is estimated that over 600,000 people are blind due to cataracts. HCP’s support for outreach campaigns provide much needed service while building ophthalmic capacity for Ethiopia’s present and future eye care personnel.

Also in March, HCP Partner Abba Philippos Memorial Eye Clinic of Ethiopia conducted 3 consecutive outreach events, yielding a total of 549 surgeries – the highest number of people this outreach team has reached in a single month. The team began at Bodji Clinic, where 90 cataract surgeries were performed in two days. From there, they traveled directly to Aira Base Hospital, where a huge crowd was waiting for treatment. That week, they were able to complete 174 cataract surgeries, which is a record high for the base hospital. Finally, the surgical team made their way to Dembidollo, where they did an additional 285 cataract surgeries in six days. Advance screening of patients was conducted by the Aira Base Hospital and Dembidollo staff.

“On behalf of the eye team and the patients, we would like to thank you and our donors for this huge help. May God bless you all. We are very glad to be part of this.”

Patient Stories from the Field:

  • A female patient, age 25, had been blind for two years. She completed grade nine but could not go back to school due to her poor eye vision. Her exam revealed bilateral cataracts. Surgery went well with excellent post-operative vision. The next morning upon removing her eye patches, she smiled and stared at her brother who had brought her to the hospital. She is very eager to go back to school.
  • A female patient, age 30, had been blind for 13 years. She had been advised by traditional healers not to seek modern medical care and thus remained at home for many years, unable to see. The surgery was uneventful and she had an excellent outcome. After the patch was removed, she told her story to other patients and kept on smiling and laughing.
  • A male patient had been blind for the last 12 months from cataracts. He moved to Wellega from the eastern part of Ethiopia 8 years ago due to drought in that area. He could not afford to go to Aira Hospital and had been waiting for the arrival of the Abba Philippos eye team. He had excellent post operative vision and was very happy. 
Timmy O
Timmy O'Neill with patient
Patients in Western Ethiopia
Patients in Western Ethiopia
Mar 21, 2017

Saturday Surgeries

Dr. Judith Simon at Work
Dr. Judith Simon at Work

In December, HCP partner Dr. Judith Simon brought a team from the Tamale Teaching Hospital to Yeji, a village along the Volta River some 300 kilometers south of Tamale. It was Dr. Simon’s second trip of the year to Yeji — both on Saturdays, the day she leads outreach trips into the countryside to provide eye care for residents living in remote and hard-to-reach places. Her team performed 30 cataract surgeries that Saturday, contributing to the record number of 3,494 total surgeries HCP and its three implementing partners performed in Ghana during 2016 - more than half took place in outreach settings. 

The numbers, though, don’t tell the heart of the story about our work in Ghana. Every single cataract surgery we perform changes a human life for the better, in many cases, profoundly. In Yeji, Dr. Simon’s team gave sight to a 23-year-old woman who had been blind since birth. Another woman, from a nearby village, returned to Yeji after having had surgery there during the previous outreach. She brought five members of her village with her, all of them blind, all of them living with the belief that blindness is simply an inevitable part of aging. While one of those people had untreatable glaucoma, the team from Tamale was able to restore the sight of the other four with a simple, inexpensive procedure. Dr. Simon, who has worked full-time in Ghana for the past three years, joked about the unofficial recruiting that helps spread the word of HCP’s work. She said, “We told that woman she’ll be getting a percentage soon!”

 
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