Friday, 11 July 2008
Listen to the story below as given by me ,a project coordinator at BICO
This is a story of mother with four children living in Natchwatchwa village, Mulanje district. One day she was doing her daily household chores when a volunteer came to her house. The volunteer, one of the key informants had been trained for half a day to identify blind children in her community and she had started her work. She came to her house to ask if any of the children in the house had eye problems. This volunteer found out that there was a five year boy with eye problems who had never been to hospital ;on checked the child she found out that the child had had cataracts in both eyes and was not able to see well. The mother was told by the key informant to take the child for screening on the 9th June at a place in Mulanje whether the screening team (eye doctors)would be coming .
Determined to solve the problem of her child’s eyes she showed up on the 9th June. When Dr. Kalua screened this five year old child, it was truly confirmed that the child had cataract in both eyes . Interestingly, the mother was also carrying a four month baby boy, and out of curiosity, Dr Kalua decided to check the little baby's eyes as well. Unfortunately enough, the baby also had cataract. And Dr Kalua while talking and curiously taking a close look at the mother, noted that herself too had cataract in both eyes . This was so interesting to note that a key informant only after half a days training can identify indirectly, at least three people with cataract from one family.
The mother and her two children where referred to Lions Sight First Eye Hospital (LSFEH),Blantyre . The following day, the key informant went to their house to assure her to come to LSFEH and help them prepare for the trip ;and while there she also noted out that another 2 year old boy from the same mother also had cataract . The parent reported that this boy was not present the first time they came for screening because he lives with his grandmother. In total the Key informant referred a family of four (all with cataracts) to LSFEH in Blantyre for surgery which was performed by Dr Kalua .
The mother and all children have been happily discharged from the hospital and I will be following them up in Mulanje soon.
Are we doing a good job in training volunteers?
Want to know more about our work ,
Email myboss !
Well its really getting difficulty to maintain writing on my blog yet keep up with the filed work in Malawi .
Since Blantyre Institute for Community ophthalmology ( BICO) was launched early this year at the Lions sight first eye hospital in Blantyre ;we have been very busy doing Community eye health work in Southern Malawi ; starting with Mulanje as a pilot District .In may this year we conduced several trainings of Village volunteers and also Health surveillance assistants on how they can identify blind children ;and now they have started doing their work in the field and we are busy travelling up and down following what they are doing; We have recruited a project coordinator who is doing a marvellous job ( being a University of Malawi graduate I expect them to excel anyway).We were privileged in May to have observers from the International Centre for Eye health, London who visited us and observed what we are doing in Mulanje. I am pleased to report that that they have been convinced we are on the right track ;and we look forward to having services of BICO expand to the rest of southern Malawi .
If you have money to spare; do us a favour ! help us print BICO tee- shits for volunteers and Health Surveillance assistants at a cost of USD 8 ( £4) per item; these will help us spread messages about blindness in children and also
motivate the staff.
If you want to help please