Maurice Abony has worked for Sightsavers for the past five years as project manager at the office in Nairobi. Yet he is also a trained cataract surgeon with a decade of experience. So when Sightsavers’ CATCH project in Kenya finds itself short of surgeons, Maurice steps in to carry out operations.
“I have conducted about 10,000 cataract surgeries in Kenya and Somalia,” explains Maurice. “At the moment I conduct surgeries in Samburu County during the eye camps. Each year we have about eight to ten camps, which last five days.”
New surgeons are currently being trained: one graduated in December, with another due to finish his training in 2019. Maurice will help to mentor them once they are qualified. “The learning curve for cataract surgeons is usually longer,” he says. “It may take another year before the newly qualified surgeon is confident enough to conduct a camp by himself.” More from Kenya
A coffee-table book has been published to focus on Sightsavers’ eye health work in the Sundarbans region on the Bay of Bengal. The Sundarbans, formed where three rivers meet, is a Unesco World Heritage Site famed for its beauty and biodiversity. Yet floods and cyclones are common, and the shifting aquatic landscape means transport, communication and even electricity coverage are problematic.
As a result, livelihoods remain uncertain, and eye problems are often undiagnosed and untreated. Sightsavers has been working in the Sundarbans for seven years, and the latest project aims to help eliminate avoidable blindness in the region by supporting vision centres and training eye health workers.
The book tells the stories of people that Sightsavers has helped, including husband and wife Anwal and Kalpana, who have been living in poverty since Anwal was mauled by a tiger 27 years ago, leaving him unable to work. As the couple’s eyesight started to deteriorate with age, they were unable to pay to have their eyes checked. After visiting a Sightsavers-supported clinic, they were referred for cataract surgery and their vision was restored. More from India