Cataract Outreach in Arba Minch, Ethiopia
Arba Minch Hospital hosts HCP Affiliated Ophthalmologist and Lenovo equipment tester for cataract outreach
HCP Affiliated Ophthalmologist Dr. John Welling, Lenovo employee Chris Annison and The Keeler Family traveled to Ethiopia to work with HCP partner Dr. Dawit Gidey of the Arba Minch Hospital in Ethiopia for a cataract outreach from June 12-16. In just four days, a total of 607 cataract surgeries and one corneal tear repair were performed.
Dr. John Welling participated in several surgical outreach events as an HCP International Fellow from 2015 to 2016. He is now one of HCP’s Affiliated Ophthalmologists and works with HCP Board Member Dr. Matt Oliva at the Medical Eye Center in Medford, OR. Dr. Dawit Gidey is an HCP partner Ophthalmologist at the Arba Minch Hospital and most recently spent five months in an HCP-supported cornea sub-specialty training program at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Nepal.
Chris Annison works for Lenovo, a US-based innovative consumer, commercial and enterprise technologies company. In addition to generously supporting to this outreach, Lenovo is working with HCP to test tablets that collect monitoring and evaluation data in the field.
HCP would like to thank Chris and the Keeler family; Cliff, Wendy, Chelsey, India, Jaxon and Durban, who volunteered at this outreach with their time and also provided support through the Keeler Lift Up the Hands Fund. Below are two patient stories captured by this amazing group.
This is Kababush, she is 34 years old and a mother of six. She was blind in both eyes because of advanced cataracts. Due to her blindness, her husband has been taking care of their children, significantly reducing his ability to earn income. As a result the older children were also forced to stay home from school in order to help with their younger siblings. Kababush traveled 175 km to Arba Minch during this outreach in hopes that she would regain her sight giving her the ability to take care of her family again. Prior to her cataract surgeries she said if her sight was restored the first thing she would do is give thanks to God and go home to take care of her kids again. The next day, she did exactly that.
This is Mekelmu (pictured with his father). He is 14 years old and has been blind in both eyes from cataracts since the age of 7. Not wanting him to fall behind, Mekelmu’s father made him go to school through second grade, even after he lost his sight. However, he was teased and bullied so much that eventually his father allowed him to stay home. When he was blind he would sit at home by himself or go to the fields where his father worked and sit on the ground. During this outreach he received sight sight restoring surgery in both eyes. Mekelmu says he can't wait to go back to school and help his mother at home.