Monday, 28 September 2009
OVER 120 BLIND PEOPLE HAVE THEIR EYE SIGHT RESTORED IN ZOMBA AND MACHINGA, MALAWI
A short meeting between Dr Khumbo Kalua , Senior eye specialist from Lions Sight First Eye hospital , Blantyre ,Malawi and Mr Kashinath Chatruvedi , MD for First Merchant Bank (FMB),Blantyre has resulted in over 120 blind people from areas surrounding Zomba and Machinga district having their sight restored through eye operations performed at Zomba central hospital from the 14-18th September 2009 .
Since the worsening of the global final crisis earlier this year , a Malawi Ministry of Health partner who was heavily involved in supporting eye care in the South East Zone ( Mulanje ,Phalombe, Zomba ,Machinga and Mangochi) has pulled out unexpectedly early this year and as a result there had been no surgical sight restoring eye camps conducted in this zone the whole of the year. Reports that many blind people were suffering in this zone prompted Dr Kalua to approach the MD for FMB, and find out if he would help to solicit funds to support eye operations. Supporting Eye care has not attracted good funding from Ministry of Health because of priority in other life threatened diseases like Malaria and HIV/AIDS. However those who are blind can more than often be helped with very little resources compaired to other diseases .
Dr Kalua had approached the MD as an appeal from the private to support the public (private- public partnership) and reading the newspaper that the private sponsoring things like Golf and other sports ,and the MD agreed to talk Rotary Club of Limbe; who inturn agreed to support eye operation in Zomba and Machinga districts .A generous donation to cover logistics involving the identification of patients ,transportation to and from hospital ,and transportation of staff from Blantyre was solicited by the mD from the Rotary club .
Patients with cataract were mobilized from Machinga and Zomba , picked from their homes, had eye operations done at Zomba Central hospital and were ferried back to their homes . Operations were done by a team of two dedicated eye specialist doctors from Lions Sight first eye hospital, Blantyre.
It was all happiness and smiles the next day when patients who had been blind for sometime (up to 5 years) were able to regain their sight and see again.The staff were thanked for the good work that is being done and these good stories were reported in the “Nation” newspapers.
Cataract is the commonest eye condition that causes blindness in Malawi and a painless operation of less than 15 can result to total reversal of blindness with patients completely regaining their sight.
Currently over 20,0000 of all adult aged 50 and above in Malawi are blind or have severely visual impairment from Cataract and are waiting for cataract surgery . Supporting one cataract operation to restore sight cost less than USD 50 per patient and up to 20 patients can be done per day by one surgeon.
All well wishers who would like to come forward to support the eye operations in Malawi should contact Dr Khumbo Kalua at LIONS EYE HOSPITAL, BLANTYRE!
There are currently only 8 eye specialists based in Malawi , and training to be an eye specialists takes a minimum of 10 years of medical school (6 years of undergraduate and 4 years of specialization).
Patients with eye problems can go directly to any one of the tertiary hospital in Malawi in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu and can be seen there.
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