Dr Ceccon’s Assignment Report

The Assignment Report of Dr Jean-François Ceccon, Ophthalmologist and Director of Programmes at the OPC.

Summary of the two exploratory missions in the region of Mopti, Mali, in March and July 2010.

My "guide" : Dr Touré

During my two exploratory missions, I am joined by Dr Touré, the only ophthalmologist in the Mopti region, although at least four specialists are needed in this region of 2 million inhabitants. Moreover, the resources available are quite frankly pathetic !

Visit of the Regional Hospital of Mopti

The hospital dates back to colonial times. Everything is old and dilapidated. Dr Touré explained to me that there are plans for a new hospital 40km away, financed by the French and Belgian Cooperation. But it will not be finished before 2012 or 2013 at the earliest.

The ophthalmology department

The equipment in the consultation room is basic. There is a slit lamp for examining the eye, but no Javal for examining astigmatisms, no ophthalmoscope to see inside the fundus of the eye, or a retinoscope to obtain an objective measurement of the refractive condition of the patient’s eyes or even a tonometer to check the eye pressure… It’s impossible to work efficiently with such a limited amount of material !

The operating theatre

The small operating room in the Ophthalmology Department is also less than well-equipped. There is an incomplete set of surgical equipment. The foot-operated remote control for the operating microscope doesn’t work...

Dr Touré also tells me that he only managed to operate on 200 cataracts last year. It would be necessary to do at least 5 or 6 times as many operations in order to fight against the diseases that account for half of all cases of blindness in Mali.

I now have to find out the state of the health centres…

No more mobile surgery missions

Since 2007, Dr Touré has not been able to carry out any mobile eye surgery missions as the 4x4 is in a very poor condition. During the last mission with the mobile surgery unit, the electro-mechanical circuits in the microscope were irreparably burnt out.

Visits to referral health centres

I visited 5 health centres in the region in question, and everywhere presented the same conclusion : the on-site eye care professional lacks the necessary equipment to screen and test patients for eye diseases, as well as to treat cases of trichiasis in a safe way. Slit lamps are in a poor condition, boxes of trial lenses are half empty, there is no Javal, ophthalmoscope, retinoscope or tonometer.

The Regional Hospital of Mopti and the 5 surrounding health centres urgently require new and updated equipment to continue to provide the necessary care for their patients !

The cost of the equipment and supplies and training for the first year comes to €479,000 which covers :

- Equipping the Hospital in Mopti with an operating microscope, slit lamp, Javal, ophthalmoscope, retinoscope, tonometer and surgical instruments.
- Creating a Mobile Ocular Surgery Unit (UMCO) ; a 4x4 vehicle, portable operating microscope and surgical instruments.
- Equipping 5 health centres with a slit lamp, Javal, ophthalmoscope, retinoscope and tonometer…