Improved eye care has been a primary Natron Healthcare Project goal – and one of our most elusive. But in May this year, working with Dr. Steve Friberg and his colleague, Dr. Samwel Wilson (left), we organized and funded a mobile eye clinic visiting three villages, Gelai Lumbwa, Wosiwosi and Makat. As he is known and trusted, Dr. Swai accompanied them, and conducted eye care education workshops. Here is Dr. Samwel’s report:
“66 eye patients were seen at Wosiwosi, there was high a incidence of trachoma. There were no cataract patients identified at Wosiwosi.
At Makat 20 patients were seen. Three patients were identified with cataracts. There were many patients with pterygium at Makat.
At Gelai Lumbwa 13 eye patients were seen, 4 patients were identified with cataracts.
Dr. Steven will transfer surgical patients from Gelai Lumbwa to Tengeru Hospital’s eye department on 10 June.”
Photo above: Dr. Swai gives a workshop; baby with conjunctivitis
Dr. Samwel also had news about one of two children with bilateral talipes (“club foot”) whom Penny saw on her visit to Makat in November. She referred both children to Dr. Steve, who referred them to the pediatric orthopedic unit at Selian Hospital in Arusha. Dr. Samwel reported:
“Nasaro Lesosi, 2 year old with corrected bilateral talipes, was delivered [back] to his boma in Makat by Samwel’s vehicle. The family was so appreciative they butchered a goat for the eye team. One of the child’s grandmothers was so filled with emotion that she collapsed with joy in a stupor.”
Dr. Steve gave us this follow-up in June, following eye surgery:
“We had six patients arranged to go for cataract operations, however, three backed out at the last minute out of fear of surgery. Three were transported to Tengeru [a hospital near Arusha] and received by Martha [Dr. Samwel’s wife] and the ophthalmologists. One cataract was still immature and will have to wait, however, two patients had successful surgeries. Both were totally blind before surgery and returned with normal vision in one eye and huge smiles. Although we pushed for surgery on both eyes, [the doctors] refused and said that they normally will only do one eye at a time. Both of our patients want the second surgery on another visit. We were fortunate that both patients had such successful outcomes because the good news will spread in Makat and Wosiwosi.”
Dr. Samwel adds: “The team is thankful to God for the cooperation of the communities, for the help of Dr Swai, for a reliable vehicle, and the medical expertise, teaching materials, and financial support of Natron Healthcare Project. We strongly feel this work is valuable and should be continued twice yearly.”