Madagascar is the poorest country in the world that is not in conflict. It is known for its diverse wildlife, but the plight of its people often gets forgotten. Malnutrition affects nearly 50% of children in Madagascar and access to eye care is very limited. This is being addressed by a project at Manditsara Hospital, where we contribute a little to the work of the eye clinic.
Our link with Manditsara is Vicky Hopley. Vicky and I first became friends 25 years ago when we both went off to University to study Optometry. Vicky has been involved in eye care in Madagascar since 2005 in a very remote part of North East Madagascar, which Vicky describes as being “in the middle of nowhere” - often cut off because of the state of the roads.
“I am a Missionary Optometrist, which means that I am sent by St Mary's Church in Ponteland, through “Friends of Mandritsara Trust” to work in the ophthalmology department of a rural Christian hospital in a town called Mandritsara. I work alongside 3 Malagasy staff offering a very basic eye service It never ceases to amaze me that despite the remote location, people can still have a cataract operation. For many this involves walking for several days across the rainforest. Being part of a team that provides this life changing gift of sight is such a privilege. “
“The hospital undertakes about 450 cataract operations each year. The total cost of an operation is about £30. The patients and their family will save up for their contribution and often will sell a cow to cover the cost. Culturally, it is very important for patients to pay for their health care but our goal is to keep the cost of care to a minimum, so that it is accessible to all. We subsidise the cost of every cataract operation by £10 and need to raise funding for this. Andrew and the patients at Keyes Eyecare ran a very successful campaign last year, so we're delighted to be doing so again this autumn. ”
Until the 31st October for every pair of glasses you buy, we are going to donate the £10 needed to enable someone to have a cataract procedure. We would also like to encourage you to consider giving to the project too. We have set this project up directly with the hospital in Mandritsara so that every penny given goes to clinical care. There are no admin costs associated with this project; everything given goes directly to benefit patients in Madagascar.
Cataract surgery isn't done until vision is very poor, so the result of the surgery is immediate and dramatically life changing. If you would like to make a donation towards this great project, you can do so online at www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/cataractfundraising
Or, treat yourself to a new pair of glasses before the end of October and we will do the rest!