Here is some information on Swaziland, a country of 1.3 million people:
Cataract: 5000 cataract BLIND, 20 000 operable
Glaucoma: 10 000, many blind
180 Children blind, (n= Cataract and Glaucoma 36, ROP 45, Scar 4, Others 95 according to WHO extrapolations)
Diabetic Retinopathy: n= 8000, Needing Laser per year: n=500
In 2003, we did a community rapid assessment of Cataract blindness in the Kingdom and found the following:
1. Cataracts cause 50% of all blindness
2. Only 20% of cataract blind have had surgery
3. The principal barriers to accessing surgery are lack of money and lack of understanding.
2015 Report: The ink is hardly dry from the newsletter that we wrote last year, and now we are already reporting on 2015. That’s how fast this year seems to have flown by!This year was filled with a lot of planning activities for the future, hosting a continuous stream of visitors and students, apart from the daily clinical activities. But we enjoyed all of this, as it allowed us to share our passion and commitment to restoring sight to those who cannot see and moving closer to the goal of eliminating blindness in Swaziland. New trainee ophthalmologist We officially welcomed Dr. Graeme Knight to the team, as trainee ophthalmologist. Graeme hails from Durban and studied medicine at the University of Cape Town. Graeme and Helene, his wife, quickly settled into their new home at Mabuda Farm and have whole-heartedly embraced life in the local communities, participating in many activities and charitable endeavours. We trust that God has a long term plan for them here in Siteki and at Good Shepherd.
New Eye Clinic Building Project We are always amazed, surprised and delighted by the way the Lord works things out for us! At the end of 2014 our plans were quite small, thinking we should acquire a “mobile type” home to establish an Optometry Unit. But suddenly in the New Year, our vision was enlarged to build a new Eye Clinic and administration block and Optometry would occupy the current consulting, waiting and registration area. Much effort and energy was devoted to having plans drawn up and the building site approved by GSH and the Catholic Diocese to see this project come to fruition. We are grateful and excited by the support we received from CBM SA, Canada, USA and others in support of this big project! There was just one hurdle to overcome – We suddenly discovered that another building project had for “waiting mothers) had been approved and was ready to start in December on the same piece of land we had earmarked for the New Eye Clinic Admin Building. The GSH Administrator graciously helped to have the architect of the WMB project re-position the building and we trust all the new buildings will fit perfectly onto the proposed site. Commencement of the building is envisaged for March/April 2016. New Eye Clinic Administrator/Accountant We welcomed Phindile Bhembe to the Eye Team on 1st July, taking over the full admin function from Angela Warbreck in the new year. We wish Phindile a long, happy and fulfilling career at the Eye Clinic.
Visitors and Volunteers 2015 was a very busy year for visitors to the Eye Clinic, mainly from CBM Canada who made five trips to Swaziland this year. The purpose for these trips ranged from strategy meetings and resource gathering, to project assessments and generally to support their partners active in the country. Lloyd Hildebrand and Brad Farris (DMEI) were with us and the Luke Commission in March Dr. Hildebrand returned in August to assist the Luke Commission during their week of cataract surgeries. Dr. Tim Fetherston and Viv returned for the 6th in June till mid-August. Tim and Viv’s time here allows Dr. Pons and Helen to take a much needed break, while Dr. Fetherston “fills Jono’s shoes” at the clinic, Viv helps to run the busy Mabuda B&B. This time their daughter Lizzie, and fiancé Adrian were with them as well. Lizzie was here for her medical elective. Emma Pons had also chosen to do her elective at Good Shepherd at that time and it was great that he two doctors’ kids could spend some professional time with their dads! What a privilege! Other USA and Canadian visitors were Jon Berman, Ruth and Thomas Kuelker and their family (right). Ruth spent a few “fun” days in the admin office, helping to sort and take stock of all the lenses in the theatre store room. Sharon and Kirby Edwards (left) from CBM USA also spent a few days with us. Dr. Zdenek Gregor, another regular visitor spent 10 days with us in October .. Another returning ophthalmologist was Trevor Kerr, who came with fellow ophthalmologist Matt Kruger at the end of November bearing “gifts”! He had specially brought donated items by the Alcon Philanthropic Program and other suppliers for the clinic. Trevor had previously spent 7 months at the eye clinic from end 2013/beginning 2014 We truly appreciate all the various drugs and lenses our visiting doctors bring to the clinic!
It is such a great blessing and joy to have all these visiting doctors and others who come to spend some of their valuable time with us, imparting knowledge, assisting the clinic and encouraging the team. DMEI Fellow – Jewel Sandy Jewel Sandy was this years’ candidate for the DMEI fellowship program at GSH Eye Clinic. We were all excited to meet the “new Liz” (Liz Gauger, 2014 fellow), who was born and raised in Sierra Leone before moving to the USA – a fellow African! We were eager to integrate her into our activities and assist her with the many items on her agenda, which included advocacy, clinic and surgery days. Jewel was an asset to the eye unit for the 3 short months she spent here and we certainly kept her busy!
Equipment We gratefully received many items (big and small) to assist us in our work. Some of the bigger items were: The Humphries Field Analyser, which was donated to us via CBM A Stryker Tonometer, measuring tissue tension in muscle capsules after severe snakebite envenomation, was generously donated by Waves of Mercy International. Dr Pons has taken on the role of medical advisor and co-founder of the Swaziland Snakebite Authority. One of the highlights of this year was the acquisition of the YAG Laser. We were greatly blessed by the generosity of CBM donors (Canada and USA) and others (in New Zealand), who rallied around to help us purchase a much needed Yag Laser machine. We have performed 62 Yag laser treatments this year and 203 Argon lasers with a combined total of 265. Statistics 2015 The following figures are for Good Shepherd and St. Theresa’s combined: Total number of patients seen: 10,077 Total number of cataract surgeries: 554 Other surgeries: 145 Laser Argon: 203 Laser Yag/SLT: 62
Awards Dr. Pons has been the recipient of many awards for the work he does in the field of Ophthalmology. Congratulations! Dr. Pons was the recipient of the 2015 OSSA Humanitarian Award, to recognize participation in charitable activities, indigent care, community service and other humanitarian activities. Individuals must perform this service in their capacity as an Ophthalmologist. We honour and thank Dr. Pons for his selfless service especially to the communities of Swaziland Outreach Ebenezer Clinic situated about 15lm south of Good Shepherd Hospital in the Maphungwane District, continues to be supported by the Eye Clinic, students and generous donors associated with the Eye Clinic in particular. The students really enjoy helping the nurses and community there and are delighted to get hands on experience in this poor, rural clinic. Rev. Precious Mazibuko has spent much of her time this year meeting with the Ministry of Health, negotiating to have the clinic fully supported by government. There is still much work to be done in this regard, but the nurses’ salaries and most medication are paid by Government in the meantime. We are so grateful to our donors who have generously supported Ebenezer so that the monthly running costs of the Clinic could be covered as well as being able to purchase a vehicle for Ebenezer and to secure the property with a fence, the buildings with burglar bars and purchase various other small items. Inhambane Outreach with DFL 7-14 November 2015 After many invitations from Doctors for Life (DFL) Team to do cataract surgeries in Mozambique, Dr. Pons and the Eye Clinic Team were finally able accept the invitation. The venue was to be Inhambane, a lovely coastal town several hours north of Maputo, and the date would be mid-November. It was an interesting and exciting trip and in spite of some challenges, the overall result was a success. In total 69 surgeries were performed during the week. We greatly appreciate the work Doctors for Life are doing and honour them for fulfilling God’s call to the nations in this way. We were blessed to be part of this trip, which allowed us to fulfill some of our own outreach goals.
As we come to the end of an eventful year, we wish all our staff, the CBM Partners and family, donors, supporters and friends of Good Shepherd Eye Clinic
May the light of Christ continue to shine in and through us and enable us to share and spread His light to those who cannot see. Angela and the eye clinic team