(Greenville, Sinoe County, Liberia)— over one hundred eye patients across Sinoe County and its environs have received free screening and eye surgery, as part of efforts to minimize people living with blindness or eye condition. This was a joint effort by the Ministry of Health, and Samaritan’s Purse in collaboration with New Sight Eye Center.
The Cataract Surgical outreach began with pre-screening from March 7-11 in several parts of Sinoe County including Greenville City, Taryuowon, Solokai, Yumobo, Karquekpo, Konwiah, Chebioh, Government Camp, ITI, among other places, as a prerequisite to the surgical eye operation. Official eye surgery stated at the F. J. Grante Memorial Hospital in Sinoe County, from Monday, March 14 to Thursday, 17, 2022. Over 800 persons were screened while 104 of the number successfully underwent surgical eye operations.
As a way of providing patients with free access to mobility, the Samaritan’s Purse (the supporting partner to the project) transported closed to eight-hundred patients from the aforementioned localities to the F. J. Grante Memorial Hospital, to and fro. Few of them suffered from cataract, pterygium, and cyst. They received free medical and surgical eye operation, logging, feeding and transportation in the package.
Speaking on behalf of government and the Ministry, Dr. Joseph Kerkulah, National Eye Health Program Director of MOH, said: “A new strategy was employed to motivate the general public to pull in for medical services. We carried a patient on one of the community radios for interviews, both before and after. And he was taken to his community where there was jubilation amongst the locals. This strategy worked for us as a team”.
He thanks the Sinoe County Health Team for their warmth welcome and Cooperation throughout the exercise.
Dr. Kerkulah at the same time lauded Samaritan’s Purse and the New Sight Eye Center for unremittingly buttressing government’s efforts, and reassumed government’s commitment and collaboration with partners for providing and delivering quality health services for all Liberians.
William Bedford, Community Health Department Director of the Sinoe County Health Team, in remarks, thanks the team for rendering such a remarkable service to the people of the county, and asked for the team’s return in the future.
The Ministry’s press statement further noted that most people who regained new sight were adults, constituting about 95% of the total number of patients who underwent the surgical operation.
To meet the designated target by the Surgical Team, a strategic was drafted by the team on its first working day (Monday, March 13, 2022) to encourage people living with eye complication can move to the hospital for free medication. During the meeting, field teams were constituted to mobilize and track patients with eye complications. It was agreed to selected a patient who will encourage other patients through radio talk show to create awareness.
This strategy employed by the team worked well as patients were in their numbers at the F.J. Grante Memorial Hospital, when Mr. Stephen T. Chie, 62 years old, made two appearances (before and after) on Liberty Broadcasting System. He was firstly accompanied by Dr. Robert Dolo, New Sight Eye Center Executive Director. They both encouraged patients to seek eye medication at the hospital.
On that same Monday, a team led by Jetty Zebeh went to ITI in River Cess County to create awareness and screen patients. Through their joint efforts an influx of patients pulled to the surgical site in Greenville.
Tuesday, about 28 patients’ sights were restored including Stephen T. Chie, who was at the center of creating awareness in his local Sarpo and Kru vernaculars.
Stephen T. Chie, a farmer, who had gone blind over four years explained his ordeal: “I have been for over four now. Almost all my women including some friends have abandoned me because of my condition.’’ He continued: “I am sure the reason this is because I am unable to do what I used to when I was seeing”.
He explained that he woke one morning in 2018, his eyes started itching. Few months later, his sight started declining, which led to his blindness.
Meanwhile, after a successful surgical operation, he was glad to have his sight restored; hence, his people in the outskirt of Greenville were in total jubilation upon his arrival along with the surgical team at his resident.
His grandchild asked him whether he could see them clearly: “I can see clearly: every color of cloths on you I can it now. Oh this is my daughter who can give me hard time that her here? This time around you will not fool me again”, he said jokingly.
In the same vein, Morris Swen, 59, said: “I am the Town Chief of Government Camp. I got blind for almost 2yrs, now. Though, I am the Town Chief but doing my own work is not easy. I cannot do anything by myself. Somebody has to help me through. But by the grace of God, I am sure through this operation, He will help me through,” he said with conviction before undergoing the surgical operation on Wednesday afternoon.
Immediately after his successful operation he noted: “Being blind wasn’t easy but by the grace of God, I was able to regain my sight. I am happy and I feel blessed because if it weren’t for God Almighty I wouldn’t had regained my sight,” Mr. Swen expressed with joy.
Gabriel Worjloh, a resident of Solokai explained: “I suffered 6yrs of blindness. I don’t know what the cause is. But one day my eye started hitting. From that day, my eye condition has worsened. I cannot even see you. I am only hearing your voice.”
After the operation he noted: “I bless God for my children who stood by me throughout my years of blindness. I am grateful to God for his intervention in my life and the chance. I have once more life to live again.”
The surgical outreach ended with a program, with supporting and implementing partners using the occasion to appreciate government for providing them the space to contribute to humanity, especially in the Country’s health sector.
Director of Communications, MoH/LR