At least 219 persons including elders, women, girls and children are said to be in total relief following a successful conduct of a free cataract surgery in Kolahun, Lofa County.
The five days free Cataract surgery was conducted by the New Sight Eye Center (NSEC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) with support from the Samaritan’s Purse (SP).
The exercise follows a pre-screening process of 1,447 patients from five rural communities that include Foyah, Kolahun, Massambolahun, Kamatahun, and Bolahun all in Lofa County.
The mission according to the surgical team headed by Dr. Joseph L. Kerhula, National Eye Program Manager, at the Ministry of Health (MOH) started in 2019 with River Cess County. The 5 days exercise is also part of the team’s third surgical outreach program in Lofa County.
The free cataract surgery is said to have brought relief to too many people in the County who could not afford. Most of them who are visually impair were able to visit the surgical site to seek solutions to their eye problem, while others have been moving from one place to another but could not get a solution.
At the end of the 5days surgery, Robert Dolo, CEO of the NSEC provided update. “This mission has been very challenging but we are grateful that we are working towards achieving our goal.” We started in 2019 with Samaritan’s Purse being the sponsor for this program. We have visited almost every part of the country except Bomi County,” he stated.
However, the surgical outreach team according to Dolo is expected to take its next outreach to Bomi County soon. The team goes into rural communities to basically screen patients with eyes problems and those that are blind from cataract.
During the free surgical outreach patients were provided surgical care service including health education, food and medication, glasses among other services. Dolo further disclosed that on the average the team has been able to screen over ten thousand (10,000) persons since the project started.
Those who were operated on were given a schedule for a follow-up to ensure that they get the necessary medical attention after their surgery. However, those who had complications according to Dolo with support from partners will be able to address their problems.
He also indicated that over the last four years the team was able to operate approximately two thousand persons. “We are glad that with the support of our partners we can do this for the people of Lofa.” Surgeons were also able to screened about three thousand persons from those five rural communities in Lofa. “We have been able to see people using country medicines (herbs) this has spoiled some of their eyes, so we provided health education to help them,” he. added.
Most of the cases they encountered during the surgical outreach in Lofa were cataracts and glaucoma as well. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging a verve in the back of your eye called the Optic. Meanwhile, Dr. Joseph L. Kerkula, National Eye Program Manager, at the Ministry of Health (MOH) said the presence of the cataracts surgical outreach team to rural communities in Lofa county means a lot, especially having such service to the disposal of the people. “The team was overwhelmed with the level of reception and turnout.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Joseph L. Kerkula, National Eye Program Manager, at the Ministry of Health (MOH) said the presence of the cataracts surgical outreach team to rural communities in Lofa county means a lot, especially having such service to the disposal of the people. “The team was overwhelmed with the level of reception and turnout.”
Dr. Kekula also stressed the importance of focusing on people who are visually impair, because they are more venerable in society. According to him, it is critical to have an eye clinic in Lofa County, “adding that this exercise should serve as a wakeup call for policy makers (Lawmakers) to support eye care services in Liberia.”
These people cannot leave from here to go as far as Monrovia for surgery looking at the economy challenged and therefore establishing an eye clinic in Kolahun and other areas will be a major achievement, “Dr. Kekula added.
James B. Marwolo 66, and his son Thomas Marwolo 41, were amongst the 219 persons who benefited from the rural cataracts surgery in Kolahun Lofa County. Mr. Marwolo for over 5years could not support his family as a result of the cataract infections, an eye disease that is curable. It is also the leading cause of blindness in Liberia and if nothing is done to clear the cataract backlog there would be more people going blind. The surgeries conducted by the NSEC in partnership with the MOH with support from (SP) was as a result of citizen’s demand in the quest to restore their sight.
Mr. Marwolo work as a (Nurse/disperser) at one of the clinics around Kolahun, for half a decade now he could not discharge his duty as a nurse due to the situation. But seeing the rural cataract surgical team’s presences in Kolahun was a dawning of a new day for him and his son (Thomas). Following a successful surgeries they expressed excitement and described the Samaritans’ Purse as a true representation of God. “We are so happy to regain our sight. This is like a dream for me and my Son, I am so grateful for this,” he said.
12years old Jeremiah A. Kollie, and 12years old Mobwie Joseph were also among four kids who went under a successful cataract surgery. Little Kollie is a 6grade student at the Fasavolu Public school. For more than 2years now Little Jeremiah Kollie has been finding it so difficult in school as a result of the cataract infection. “I couldn’t see clearly on the blackboard before, at times I used to beg my friends to write for me but today thank God,” he narrated.
While Mobwie Joseph (Female) is a 2nd grade student, she was excited when she told her mother, “Oh! Mama I can see clear now,” she told her mother. Little Mobwie seem eager to learn, but due to cataract infections she could not continue. “I dropped from school for 2years every time I got to class tears rolls down my cheek.”
Signed: Felecia Gbesioh
Director of Communications