humedica doctor Surajit Sahu has tested the visual abilities of about 500 refugees. Photo: humedica
With a focused view for the essential things
We choose its form and color according to our personal taste, perhaps we own more than one and from time to time we swap them for contact lenses. Obviously, we are talking about glasses. A commodity which for us is no longer only a visual aid, but which has long become a fashion accessory, a statement of the owner’s character. A great number of opticians and ophthalmologists make sure that the glasses also serve their basic purpose, that is to say improving the visual acuity.
This is a luxury, many people in refugee camps only can dream of. Having escaped from violence, hunger or poverty, the inhabitants of the camps are facing more existential problems than having good looking glasses. However, the increasing loss of visual acuity affects some refugees in a way that they are dependent on other people’s help.
In the Ethiopian refugee camp Melkadida, where humedica is running a health station since 2011, a remedy to these problems could be found by simple measures. Within a period of three weeks, the voluntary humedica field staff member and ophthalmologist, Doctor Surajit Sahu has been examining more than 500 refugees, determining whether they needed glasses and if so which visual correction was needed.
One of his patients was Ahmed. After the ophthalmologist’s visit had been announced via megaphone, he has come to the humedica health station and waited for his examination, next to many others. “I didn’t have much hope for my eyes, because meanwhile my sight had become so bad that I couldn’t even distinguish the mountain behind my hut.”
However, after different measurements and tests, Ahmed got a better feedback than expected: “Doctor Sahu explained me that with corresponding glasses I would be able to see nearly normally again. He wrote down all results of my examination and explained that, in a few weeks, I would get the appropriate glasses.”
Besides Ahmed, the ophthalmologist had discovered 60 other men, women and children with debility of sight. Based on the results of the examinations, the local humedica team has then organized the appropriate glasses for each patient in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Abeba. One month after the medical examination, the glasses could be distributed to the refugees.
“After having been told that our glasses had arrived, we immediately went to the health station. When I had put them on my nose I hardly could believe it. I saw everything clearly and distinctly again,” explains Ahmed. “Now I can not only clearly see the mountain behind my hut, but even the water cistern on the mountain.”
People with conventional debilities of sight like Ahmed, however, have only been one of the groups of refugees who benefitted from the ophthalmologist’s voluntary commitment. Using special measuring instruments, doctor Sahu has also been able to identify 127 patients with a cataract.
This disease can lead to the complete loss of sight if it is not treated, which is only possible with an operation. A consequence which affects those people, in the already difficult living conditions of a refugee camp, very strongly.
In the following months, humedica is going to link up with the results of the examinations and operate the concerned patients. “Luckily the cataract operation is not very complicated. That’s why the ophthalmologists will be able to operate directly here in our health station,” explains the responsible humedica staff member, Linda Zimmermann. “Thanks alone to doctor Sahu’s preliminary work, this will be able at all.”
According to current plans, the first cataract operations can already be executed in April. A simple intervention according to German standards, which will quite facilitate the concerned persons’ lives.
Please, support humedica with the implementation of this help measure by giving a precious donation and enable the refugees in Melkadida to get what has long become normal for us. Thank you very much!
Keyword: “Famine Relief Africa”
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