The eye care projects are led by Viviane Brackenbury, a Senior Orthoptist at Kings College, London.
Viviane’s eye care programme began in 2009 which was her first visit to Madina. She started by going into the local schools and screening children for squints and any other eye problems. It soon became apparent however that most eye problems lay out side the schools and in the local community.
The nearest eye clinic to Madina is about 3 hours away by public transport. Even if people could get to the clinic, most would not be able to afford to pay for their treatment or for glasses, if required.
To try and solve this problem Viviane set up a weekly community eye clinic in Madina. By training local nurses, simple eye problems – such as ‘scratchy’ and ‘red’ eyes can now be dealt with. Long sightedness can also be corrected with simple refractive checks. Glasses are provided at a minimum cost.
One of the greatest impact on sight is the development of cataracts. Most adults in Sierra Leone who develop cataracts are left with permanent poor vision which contributes to the poverty that families find themselves in. Men are no longer able to work and women become isolated in their communities. There are a few centres that offer surgery, but the treatment is unaffordable for most people.
Viviane has trained the Madina Nurses to diagnose cataracts and to keep a database of those patients who would be suitable for surgery. A link has been established between Madina and the nearest eye hospital where patients can go for their cataract surgery. The operation costs about £25 per eye.
HelpMadina pays for a number of operations each month.