In its fight against blindness, the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) through Botswana Cataract Blindness Campaign (BCBC) in partnership with Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital from India have so far operated on 6376 patients in three years.
The initiative was taken after the ministry realised that there was a large number of people suffering from bilateral advanced cataract waiting for a longer period of time to be operated on as well as shortage of Ophthalmologists in the country.
The three- year campaign, which commenced in November 2016 at Sekgoma Memorial Hospital and ended in Scottish Livingstone Hospital (SLH) in July 2019, has yielded results by surpassing its 6000-cataract surgery per year.
In his remarks last week Friday at the project closing ceremony, which was held in Molepolole, SLH Head of Ophthalmology (Eye Clinic) Dr Freddy Mbumba noted that more than 3493 patients living in Southern Botswana have their sight restored.
“890 patients who were blind now have good vision, they can now read properly, drive and do all sorts of work. 193 patients have moderate vision while 120 patients have poor vision, 74 percent of the good results is so encouraging and remarkable,” said the impressed Dr Mbumba.
He, however, requested the authorities to provide doctors with a continuous supply of ophthalmic surgical instruments, consumables and drugs to enable them to sustain the development of cataract surgeries by local Ophthalmologists to control the backlog of cataract patients.
India High Commissioner Dr Rajesh Ranjan highlighted that Botswana needed to develop capacity through training along with expeditions to cater to ongoing needs and create a long-term collaboration with organizations like Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital to improve eye care delivery.
Giving the keynote address, MOHW Acting Permanent Secretary, Moses Keetile updated the attendees on the 2011 population and housing census, which revealed that the most prevalent form of disability was visual impairment, which constituted 48.6 percent of all disabilities followed by defect of hearing with 20.3 percent.
“The statistics presented abov
The campaign partnership ceremony, which was well attended by different health practitioners and village leadership, was punctuated by thrilling entertainment by health officials from both Botswana and India.