In May 2013, in collaboration with the Greater Lions Club of Nairobi, we brought a seven-member Embracing the World medical team headed by Dr. Maria Isabel Signes Soler from Spain, to perform 208 free cataract surgeries for the poor at Thika hospital, on the outskirts of Nairobi. Invigorated by the experience, the team returned in April and again in August 2014 to the town of Athi River to the Shalom Hospital and Vihiga county hospital where an additional 320 surgeries were performed, and all previous patients received a follow up exam.
More than 224,000 people are affected by blindness in Kenya with approximately 43% suffering from cataracts. Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. In Kenya, most ophthalmological services are centered in urban environments. That is why our volunteers are now regularly organizing medical camps in impoverished rural areas for on-site medical examinations and treatment. To date, more than 2,000 patients have been treated through camps held in the Kibera Slum, Machakos, Thika and in Embracing the World’s orphanage: Amrita Children’s Home in Nairobi. Special care is given to provide reading and long distance glasses for any patients that need them.
Despite adverse conditions, including intermittent power outages, our volunteer doctors persevered to see as many people as possible during the camp in August, with each doctor seeing at least 20 patients per day. As a result of the hard work done by our volunteers, the governor of Vihiga county, Mr. Moses Akaranga was impressed and personally thanked the team, saying, “This humble gesture has been highly appreciated by our people who due to economic hurdles and high poverty rates are unable to receive medical care in good time.”
Our volunteer doctors were well received by their patients. One Miwani woman stated that before her surgery in April she could not walk without someone to guide her. After the surgery, she was able to independently go where she needed to, including to the medical camp for her follow up exam. For her this was a huge accomplishment. As part of her exam, she added that vision in her operated eye was greatly improved, but the other eye was not seeing well. She was informed that when our team returns, she would receive another free surgery for the other eye.
Mr. Akaranga stated that he believed this would be the beginning of a long and healthy relationship between Embracing the World and the people of Kenya. “On behalf of my people, I pledge my government’s support to partner with you in helping any other needy cases that may arise in the future.” Our team of volunteer doctors will return in December 2014 to perform follow up exams for those who had surgeries in August, and also plan for the next phase of new surgeries.
- Dr. Jose Luis Rodriguez Prats
- Dr. Ana Jiménez
- Dr. Jose Luis Casado
- Noemi Martín
- Lola Rodriguez
- Isabel Signes
- Marine Flourence