Report- Garissa Eye Camp – 22nd And 23rd July 2023
The Rotary Club of Nairobi organized and sponsored the Garissa Eye Camp event which took place on the 22nd and 23rd of July 2023 at the Iftin Subcounty Hospital in Garissa County Marking the first service project for the Rotary year 23/24 under the Chairmanship of President Susan Murabana. The primary goal of the eye camp was to provide essential eye care services to the underserved population in the region. Additionally, the camp marked a historic milestone as it included the first-ever cataract operations to be performed at the Iftin Sub County Hospital.
The Garissa Eye Camp was well-planned in advance under the stewardship of PP. Salim Fazal and meticulously executed by the serving Community Service Director Dr. Laura Bonareri supported by the Youth Service Director Rtn. Huma Kaseu.
The Eye Camp initiative was undertaken by the Rotary Club of Nairobi upon request from the community in Garissa represented by the Zonal Eye Surgeon for North Eastern Dr. Ammal Ahmed who brought together a consortium of dedicated medical professionals, volunteers, and the County Government of Garissa’s Health department.
The primary objective of the camp was to offer free eye examinations, diagnosis, and treatments to the residents of Garissa and the surrounding areas. The inclusion of cataract operations in the camp aimed to address the prevailing issue of cataract-induced blindness, which has been a significant concern for the local community.
The Iftin Subcounty Hospital served as the ideal venue for the eye camp due to its strategic location and aspiring medical programs and infrastructure. The hospital’s administration and staff were instrumental in ensuring the camp’s success by providing their full support and cooperation.
- Comprehensive Eye Examinations: Experienced optometrists and ophthalmologists led by Dr. Ammal conducted thorough eye examinations for all beneficiaries. Visual acuity, refractive errors, and various eye conditions were assessed during these examinations.
- Cataract Operations: The eye camp facilitated the first-ever cataract operations at the Iftin Subcounty Hospital. Skilled eye surgeons performed these crucial surgeries to restore vision and alleviate cataract-induced blindness among the 153 beneficiaries.
- Treatment and Medication: Beneficiaries diagnosed with common eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, myopia, and glaucoma received appropriate treatments and medications during the camp.
- Referrals: Patients with advanced eye conditions including a 6 year old boy that required specialized treatment were identified for reference to higher-level eye care and support
The Garissa Eye Camp received an overwhelming response from the local community. A total of 153 beneficiaries, including men, women, and children of various age groups, the youngest being 6 year old and eldest being 89 years old, availed themselves for the services offered. The inclusion of cataract operations provided a new ray of hope to those suffering from cataract-induced blindness which is highly prevalent I North Eastern Kenya and significantly improved their quality of life.
Impact and Success:
The Garissa Eye Camp made a profound impact on the lives of the beneficiaries. By providing crucial eye care services and conducting cataract operations, the camp restored vision to individuals who had been living with visual impairments for extended periods and those who ran the risk of a lifetime of blindness. Including 10 year Old Abdul Rahman Noor who had been blind following an accidental prick by thorns from the Mathenge plant. (see video) Many beneficiaries expressed their gratitude for the camp’s services, emphasizing the positive transformation it brought to their lives.
Volunteer and Community Engagement:
The success of the eye camp was a testament to the dedication of volunteers, medical professionals, the County Government of Garissa and support staff involved in the initiative. The Rotary Club of Nairobi’s members actively participated in organizing, including PP. Salim, Immediate past Community Service Director Rtn Clinton Abong’o, IPP Josephine Ojiambo, and managing the event, while doctors, nurses, and other volunteers generously contributed their time and expertise. The local community and the County Government of Garissa also played a significant role by assisting with logistics spreading awareness about the camp and kicking off the exercise with the presence of The Country CEC Health and Sanitation Hon. Ahmed Nadir Omar, The Deputy Speaker of Garissa County Assembly Hon. Mustapha Abdulrashid, and Ag. Chief Officer Health and Sanitation Hon. Aden Hussein
The Garissa Eye Camp, held on the 22nd and 23rd of July 2023, was a 100% success and the event showcased the power of collective efforts in making a positive impact on the lives of underprivileged individuals in the Garissa region. The Rotary Club of Nairobi’s dedication to serving the community is commendable, and it is hoped that such initiatives will continue in the region which suffers double the prevalence for blindness. In fact, present day North Eastern Kenya, more than half of total screened patients turn out blind or run the risk of blindness by cataract – a curable disease.