Dr Yaya’s Assignment Report

Mobile Eye Surgery Unit

Health mission carried out in the regions of Boda, Nola and Bayanga, in the south west of Central African Republic (CAR). Summer 2013.

Dr. Georges Yaya, Head of the OPC’s Mobile Eye Surgery Unit, Director of the National Programme to Combat Blinding Diseases.

En route !

Here we are on the way to Boda’s health centre, the first step in our assignment. It will take us two days to cross nearly 200km of tracks in a humid forest zone.

I’m travelling with Raymond Vourou, Je voyage avec Raymond VOUROU, senior ophthalmologist and anesthetist, Séléman Yakoub, cataract surgeon and Eden Ndimbo, our driver and mechanic.
We also transport all the necessary equipment for the assignment : portable operating microscope, sterilisation equipment, small generator, a surgery kit, supplies and ocular implants.

First consultations and operations

In Boda, we examine 192 patients. Many suffer from cataracts, chronic glaucoma or trachomatous trachiasis.
During this mission, we will only be operating on cataracts : in Boda, 17 patients will benefit from this, in addition to the 15 at Nola, our next stop.

An increasingly difficult road

The road on the way to our third stage, the health centre in Bayanga, becomes more and more muddy and uneven, with parts of the journey sometimes perilous. Fortunately we can count on the help of the locals to get us out of the most difficult passageways.

Jérôme gets his sight back !

Among the 110 patients seen to at Bayanga, I come across Jérôme. This 50 year old man suffers from a bilateral cataract which has rendered him completely blind. He has walked here, guided by his wife and supported by a cane.
I decide to operate on him first, starting with the right eye. It will take me less than an hour to remove the opaque lens and replace it with an artificial one...

I wish you could have been there to share in Jérôme’s happiness and emotion on the day following his operation at the moment he saw his wife after all those years of blindness. He never thought such a miracle possible ! He is taking therefore the decision to get rid of his cane, a symbol of his former disability.

A goodbye…

After having operated on 37 patients in total, it was time to go home. We all got together for a photo. You can see my three team members to my right, and to my left, the Head Doctor of the health centre in Banyanga, who was also our host.
We promise to return very soon, as a number of patients were unable to be operated on during this assignmnet.
*I hope we will be able to find the necessary means for a new assignment as quickly as possible !

Cost of this assignment :

1 023 850 CFA Franc, which is €1563,13, comprising of
- ophthalomology and surgery equipment
- supplies
- ocular implants
- fuel
- accommodation and catering
- costs for the team.

*If you want to make a donation to the OPC to help us organise new assignments or help us more broadly to fight against blindness, click HERE.

To find out more about our projects in CAR ; click HERE.