Dr. Henk Veraart (ophthalmologist) and his wife Maria Veraart (social worker, psychologist) were in Sierra Leone for FAD in the month of May 2018.
Dr. Henk did eye operations and teaching (and he himself learned a lot!) and Maria visited several hospitals with a special interest in female health and post traumatic stress.
They made an extensive report of their impressions, here are some highlights:
- We met amazingly friendly people. Sometimes we were in villages were people first consult the witch doctor or the herbalist before going to the eye clinic. This may cause damage to the eye sight and may cost them a lot of money. This is risky and rather unfortunate.
- People in Sierra Leone have a great sense for forgiveness after the war. They look forward instead of backward and so it can happen that offenders and victims live together in a kind of harmony.
- People believe in God and His Endless Goodness.
- Especially in the big cities there is a lot of pollution of air and scenery. The struggle to survive in the daily ups and downs makes it difficult to create awareness for environmental sanitation.
- We have learned that medical staff can give good care with basic means. They provide good eye care for low cost. A lesson for us: we largely depend on expensive equipment and procedures!
- There is a lack of good medicines and many are expired. Sometimes there is a lack of knowledge for a rational prescription policy.
- Politics play a role on all levels of decision making and implementation.
- The country has a great scenery and great beauty, especially after leaving the big cities behind.
We had a great time and we hope to return next year, a big thank you to all FAD workers and all Eye Care Staff in Sweet Salone!
Henk and Maria Veraart