By Dr Will Dean

Aug 27th 2010

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Her smile says it all

Categories: Blindness, Cataract

We visited the villages near Lilongwe (well, around 2 hours drive from Nkhoma) to pick up patients who had been screened by John Kapakasa, our cataract case-finder.

He’s had a busy week on his motorbike, driving around ten villages in the rural district around the capital. The ambulance brought back 12 patients, 10 of whom were offered surgery.

Mrs Kalembo had come to Nkhoma a few weeks earlier.

Mrs Kalembo in the village, before coming to Nkhoma

Mrs Kalembo stays with one of her 5 grandchildren, and she said her main job was looking after her grandchild. She told Isabelle that she had nine children, only 6 of whom are still alive.

Luckily her grandchild could stay with friends while Mrs Kalembo came to Nkhoma for the 4 days she was with us. She said she had low vision since last year.

Meanwhile back in the village some 5 weeks after both her cataracts were operated, she was back with her friends and grandchild.

And the whole family of village friends

John Kapakasa is in the back, on the right. Mrs Kalembo’s grandson has a lot of young friends! She said after the surgery she is now completely mobile again, and doesn’t need a walking stick anymore.

The smile says it all

I need to get out more often. I don’t really get out of the hospital much during the day. Mr Kambewa and I are in theatre for the day after we and the staff finish the clinic in the mornings. Sure John and the other cataract case-finders live on their motorbikes riding around the villages looking for people like Mrs Kalembo who need assistance. Some of the staff at Nkhoma head out on mobile clinics to screen people in villages during the week. But I generally stay around Nkhoma Hospital, seeing people that are brought in.

It is really great to see Mrs Kalembo back in her village, with her friends and family; happy after surgery. Rather than just picture her in the hospital.

Her smile says it all

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