Will

By Dr Will Dean

Jul 25th 2010

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The impact of 10 million, and the power of one

Categories: Adult, Blindness, Cataract, Surgery

We have just passed the end of June, and the cool and dryness of winter is here. Most of the people in central Malawi have harvested good crops this year, and are free to head to the market, spend time with their families and enjoy this time of prosperity.

In fact this is our busiest time of year. We are sending our ambulances out to the south lakeshore. A 4 hour 300 kilometre drive to do Wednesday and Saturday mobile clinics. There is a great number of blind and severely visually impaired people in this area.

Mr Nyadani, in the village before coming to Nkhoma

Mr Nyadani was not blind, but couldn’t see his family and was failing to do much of the work on his farm and at home for the past two years.

Our wonderful mobile clinic team, and Isabelle the fantastic optometrist volunteer from Luxembourg met Mr Nyadani a few weeks ago. He was diagnosed with cataracts and came in the ambulance to Nkhoma.

Mr Kambewa, Nkhoma Cataract Surgeon, operated both his eyes successfully, and after 4 days he was taken back to his home and family, with a great improvement in his vision.

4 weeks later we went back to his village and met him again.

Mr Nyadani, happily back with his family

It is quite amazing to have had the chance to visit his family and village a few weeks after his operation to restore his sight. He was very happy in the hospital just before going home, but seeing him with his family at his home showed us the great happiness that he felt.

The power of one operation to restore one man’s vision was in the faces of his children and grandchildren, and of course in Mr Nyadani’s smile. The power lay in his ability to return to work, and his happiness in taking back his full role in the close family and community.

We are coming very close to the day when 10 million cataract operations would have been carried out by CBM over the past 100 years. I find that incredible; that so many people, and also their families and communities have been given back their right to sight.

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