A Cataract Surgery Camp in Vavuniya on 1st & 2nd Dec 2018
I would like to share a very good news with you. I am sure you are aware that Assist RR were funding cataract surgeries in Sri Lanka with the financial support of many like minded organisations and individuals. Until the end of 2016, we enabled more than 2500 free surgeries. However, we hadn’t been able to fund any surgeries for the past two and a half years due to some changes in Colombo. Although we tried out best to help the poor and vulnerable patients to regain eyesight, we badly failed in our attempts.
A few months ago, I met a retired eye surgeon, Dr Champa Banagala, from Colombo, and made a request to carry out cataract surgeries. She told me that she would endeavour to organise a camp and asked us to fund it. She also received a request from Vavuniya Hospital for a surgery camp in Vavuniya, as the hospital had more than 1000 patients on their waiting list. Dr Banagala worked tirelessly to conduct a camp in Vavuniya and, in spite of all the challenges, she succeeded in organising a cataract surgery camp in Vavuniya on 1st & 2nd Dec 2018. Four surgeons participated and contributed to the success of this camp, in which 134 surgeries were performed to restore eyesight in, at least, one eye. The surgeons who volunteered were Dr Rasangani Premathillake, Dr Yasodha Ramesh, Dr Prem Anand, Dr Mahesh and Dr Chamara Kumarage. We should mention that Dr Anand was requested at the last minute and he caught a bus from Kalmunai and joined the team in Vavuniya.
Doctors told that there were nearly 30% of the patients, who were blind (lost eyesight in both eyes) as a result of cataract. I met a few patients, who told me that they underwent surgeries in our last camp in Vavuniya in June 2016. These poor and vulnerable patients were made to wait for nearly two and a half years to restore eyesight in their second eyes. When I met an elderly man after his surgery, he started crying and thanked us profusely for enabling him to regain his eyesight. There were many more moving stories!
Almost 90% of the patients appear to be very poor and some of them couldn’t walk unaided due to blindness. They have been waiting for this free service for nearly 2 to 3 years because they are poor. Otherwise, they would have undergone surgeries privately. There are many generous like-minded organisations and individuals, who are prepared to support this service. We are hoping that we will be able to assist more patients in the future to receive this surgery with the assistance of Dr Banagala. If any of you would like to support this service to the poor and vulnerable patients, please use the link below to contribute. If the Ministry of Health provides the lenses, it will cost around £20 to fund the consumables needed for a surgery and other expenses.
Vavuniya camp was fully funded by Enlightenment Circle, an arm of Saiva Munnetra Sangam, London. We would like to express our gratitude to Enlightenment Circle for their generous support. From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to thank Dr Champa Banagala for organising the camp, surgeons Dr Rasangani Premathillake, Dr Yasodha Ramesh, Dr Prem Anand, and Dr Chamara Kumarage for their selfless services to the needy patients, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, for providing free lenses, and many doctors and staff of Vavuniya Hospital, who provided all the assistances needed to make the event successful.
I attach a few photos from the camp. Please kindly share this with your friends and family.