As I write Alasana Touray and his colleagues across the country are preparing for two “Cataract Camps” at Basse and Bwiam. At each camp fifty patients are chosen to receive a replacement lens in one eye.
Most of the patients will have had cataracts for several years and will be totally blind. All of them will be members of families who are too poor to pay for the operation. They will not necessarily be old, one patient was 13 years of age. Patients are normally charged the Dalasi equivalent of £75.00.
As part of the National Eye Health Programme, Manager: Mr Sarjo Kanyi, at the Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Centre, with FoTGA is able to provide operations for no charge. FoTGA provides the funds for the consumable materials and ancillary costs.
These comprise sachets of special fluids, replacement lenses, sterilisation kits, eye drops necessary for after care etc. This amounts to the Delasi equivalent of £40.00 per eye. The salaries of the surgical staff, transport and the buildings used are all paid for by the Gambian Ministry of Health.
Although all fifty operations are usually carried out in two days, it takes several weeks to identify and screen potential patients.
Detailed reports are written by the surgeons after each camp. The first camp funded by FoTGA took place in December 2014. To date we have funded 300 operations; with the two camps which are in progress, the total will soon be 400. We will have restored the sight of 400 people.
BUT there is a large backlog and although we make a difference, there is so much more to do.
FoTGA needs raise a minimum of £8,000 per year to carry on this work at the current rate.
Donors can give money in several ways:
Go to our website and follow the “Make a Donation” link to Virgin Giving.
At the Virgin Giving site, click on the BLUE “Make a donation” link
(not the one on the green banner at the top of the page).
Follow the rest of the instructions.
The donation does not have to be £40.00, every little helps.
Please ensure that the word “Cataract” is put into the message.
Please make the Gift Aid Declaration if you are a taxpayer.
After her Cataract operation, one lady was asked “How many white people are there in the room” She paused, looked around and said “Two” then gasped and said “I can see”
and then, “Oh, my granddaughter can go to school now,
I won’t need her to take me to the toilet”
But there is something I would ask every reader to do.
When you are asked by your family what you want for Christmas or a birthday or even a wedding, I would like you to ask for an eye operation for a needy Gambian instead. Jim