An Open Eye for Sierra Leone.
A few weeks ago we had a two days refresher course for eye nurses and assistants from both eye clinics in Lunsar and Kissy. FAD gives support to both clinics. The two of us, Dr. Wim Klein Poelhuis, ophthalmologist and myself, Dr. Berend Schaeffner were able to explain the most common eye diseases and their treatment. Special attention has been paid to First Aid in case of eye injury. The participants were highly interested and they had a good contribution to the discussions, using their experience in the field.
We also discussed some ”ethical” problems: should cataract o[operations be free? Or just for the ones that are less privileged? What are the pro’s and what are the con’s? Of course we were not able to give an answer, but the conclusion of the students was that free operations do not contribute to independence. In short: also for us, the teachers, it was a very informative experience and once more we became convinced that education should be a major focus. As one of the participants repeated: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!”.
At the end of the training all participants made a test and they received a FAD Certificate. They also received the book Eye Care in Developing countries (Schwab) and a very handy solar ophthalmic/retinoscopy apparatus in pocket format.
We had another member in our team: Mr. Ben Teule from Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. He is a volunteer from the Voluntary Network MEDIC. In this organization (ex-) tropical doctors refurbish medical instruments for developing countries. A very inspiring group, that has provided us with a lot of equipment for Sierra Leone
Ben is one of the volunteers and he joined us to assist the technicians from Lunsar and Kissy in the maintenance of the vulnerable eye care equipment.
Together with Mr. Kolleh from Lunsar and Mr. Kenneth from Kissy he repaired slit lamps and sterilizing machines.
Unfortunately Ben and Kolleh had a serious accident on the way home from Masanga. They crashed with the motorbike and got deep abrasions. In the Hospital of Lunsar they were treated very well and received very dedicated care from Sr.Aminata and her colleagues and from the BEHL staff, especially the Hospital Secretary and the FAD staff. Ben and Kolleh are doing well.
Some reactions from the Hospitals:
“I appreciate all of you Friends of African Dreams trying the Africans get the dreams. Sharing the skills and knowledge to others is the most satisfaction one can achieve and the happiness doubles when it gets to the beneficiaries. Aiding Kissy and Lunsar eye hospitals, solving the problems concerning the lack of trained HR and repairing the instruments are most highest kindness gifts one can give.”
“Mr. Berend left his diagnostic tools to our technician Mr. Kenneth Compel which he can use for the purpose of encouraging the maintenance of the hospital’s materials . I acknowledge receipts of the tools”
“We have a good time together with Dr. Wim and Ben. Most of our equipment are controlled and Ben gave lives to the instruments, his experiences, knowledge of repairmen was strong. I liked working with such a group.”