More than 200 patients from all over Acholi sub-region have undergone a free cataract surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital Kitgum. The one-week eye camp which started on October 6th was organized by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with partners; Sight Savers, Light of the World, Christian Blind Mission-CBM, and pharmacies such as Abacus, among others.
Dr. Denis Kamara, an eye specialist at St. Joseph’s Hospital, who is also in charge of the eye surgical camp, said the camp targets 1,000 patients for eye surgery but they are also receiving more people in need of other medical assistance regarding their sight.
Patrick Ongu, a Principal Ophthalmic Clinical Officer/Cataract Surgeon at St. Joseph’s Hospital said the camp was organized in preparation for World Sight Day, which is on Thursday, October 13th. Ongu revealed that the majority of the patients they have registered have cataracts. He noted that 200 out of the 700 patients they screened by Monday have been operated on for cataracts.
Ongu said cataracts develop when the metabolism of the body changes, causing the lenses of the eyes to lose transparency. He explained that although the primary cause of cataracts is old age, the problem is more common than any other eye defect because it is caused by many factors such as unregulated use of drugs, accidents, diabetes, and diseases that cause dehydration among others.
Christine Apoko, 42, a farmer in Omiya Anyima sub-county who was diagnosed with cataract three years ago, said she had not been operated on because of the expenses attached to the procedure. “I hope the free operation I am scheduled to get will improve my sight and make it easy for me to do my farming work,” she said.