Despite the poor road network leading to Serabu Town in the Bumpeh Chiefdom, Bo District, yet people from all over Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and even Mali brave it to ensure that they receive proper free eye treatment at the Southern Eye Clinic.
The Center provides eye testing, visual acuity, minor surgical procedures, cataract surgery and these are all provided for free.
Dr. Cathy Schanzer Medical Director from Memphis, United States disclosed that they started operations in 2006 after the Center was officially opened by Emeritus Bishop Ganda.
The Director explained that they normally come to do surgery every six months and that during their stay they do cataract surgery on about 200 patients and over 1,000 for other cases and these people come from all over Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Mali.
He stated that there is no discrimination as to whom the clinic caters for as they don’t ask for tribe, religion or nationality “as long as you are here and you have a problem with your eye we do whatever is required for your eye.”
The American Medical Doctor further said that the clinic also fix lots of injuries in the eyes and that most of the surgery in other part of the country will cost about three hundred thousand Leones (Le300,000) for just an eye.
“Sometimes we have to operate on both eyes and provide them with the lenses which will enable the patients to see instantly after the surgery.”
Questioned about the cataract surgery Dr. Cathy said “the lens helps the eye to focus and when that becomes damaged it makes it difficult for the individual to see. We therefore do a minor surgery to remove the cataract this surgery last only for 45 minutes. The process is simple though delicate but we have all the equipments to do the surgery. After the natural lenses have been removed we then replace it with another which is chosen based on the requirement of the eye. So the patients do not even need glasses to see after the surgery.”
She said that the lenses that are replaced cost five hundred thousand Leones (Le500,000) while the most expensive cost more than four Million Leones (Le4m).
Why they choose Serabu and Sierra Leone especially to set up their clinic, Dr. Cathy said “we have a very strong tie and we are urged by Emeritus Bishop Ganda to open up in Serabu that was why we decided to set up this clinic here. We purchase our drugs and glasses without any support from other organization. The only thing we hope to benefit from this gesture is the blessing from God.”
She said they and the Sierra Leonean staff also conduct outreach sessions in seven areas including Kenema, Rutile, Gbangbatok, Tiama and Sumbuya and they are hoping to make the programme sustainable by training Sierra Leoneans who will continue the work.
Honourable Member of Parliament Frank Kposowa who was operated upon told Awoko immediately after his surgery that he used to have cataract in both eyes but one has been removed.
Demonstrating his clear vision he said “my situation was helpless before coming in contact with these people because I had visited other clinics but I did not succeed. After the surgery it was like moving from hell to paradise.”
Frank Kposowa went on “I have been able to read my Parliamentary papers, do critical analysis from issues emanating in the National Legislation, as a direct result of the professionalism and kind heartedness of the staff at the Southern Eye Clinic.”
“I believe that Serabu is the answer to every eye problem. Everything is free all you have to give is in a donation box. I see these people as lovers of mankind but separated by thousands of kilometers but they are going all out to alleviate the suffering of both the privileged and less privileged” he said.
Source: Awoko Newspaper