Engela sets new record

Since its inception in 2003, the Eye Surgical Campaign of the health ministry is said to have restored the sigh of more than 4 700 Namibians.

01 October 2018 | Health

The 18th Ohangwena Regional Eye Surgical Campaign has set a new national record breaking the St Martin's Hospital record that was set three years ago.

The regional eye campaign that ran from 22 to 28 September at Engela District Hospital was described as a success after restoring the sight of 424 patients. St Martin's Hospital recorded of 407 patients in 2015.

This is part of the national annual free eye surgery campaign meant to benefit poor and disadvantaged Namibians who cannot afford eye healthcare services as an intervention to prevent, control and eradicate blindness in communities.

The national programme is said to be going from strength to strength since its inception, despite many challenges such as limited resources, budget constraints, a shortage of medical doctors, nurses and equipment.

During the 2018 campaign's closing ceremony at Engela on 28 September, the Ohangwena governor Usko Nghaamwa said since 2003 to date, the Ohangwena Annual Eye Surgical Campaign had restored sight for 4 776 Namibians. “This is yet another successful effort by the government to its people. This programme of eye care and blindness prevention gives a second chance to our elderly people to see again by operating on them free of charge,” said Nghaamwa. “Our senior citizens with poor sight depend on their family members to help them to get around, counting their pension money and more, but after this operation they can see and are able to count their pension money at the pay points.”

Nghaamwa said that his region is fortunate to have eye clinical officers at its three district hospitals. He said that these healthcare providers are doing a wonderful job of screening, treating and educating the community on eye-related conditions at hospitals and health centres and clinics.

“Now that we have all these services at our disposal, it is our collective responsibility to educate the communities to make use of these health services to the maximum. A healthy nation can lead to a better development, so we need to pull in one direction so that we can win the battle of ill-health both in Ohangwena and in Namibia as a whole,” he said.

Nghaamwa thanked the team of ophthalmologists saying that through their team spirit and good leadership and commitment, they make the programme a success and helped to set a new record.

The 77-year-old Johannes Kautwima from Engela is among the 424 patients who underwent the eye surgery at Engela. Kautwima said that he had been blind for almost a year and after he was successfully operated, he could see again.“The operation went well and afterward all is looking new to me now. I use to rely on my grandchildren for whatever I wanted to do or wherever I wanted to go, but from now I will be on my own. I just have to follow the procedures to make sure that my eyes heal successfully,” Kautwima said.

He said that those who have been operated on must become campaign ambassadors and spread the message to others who are suffering of blindness in their ­villages.


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