Happy patients see again


A team from the East Sepik health authority performed 60 eye surgeries at Aitape, in West Sepik, during a week-long outreach programme in which they checked 200 patients.
Most of the people treated came from the tsunami-hit areas of Sissano and Malol.
“There were about six bilaterally blind patients who received their sights and could live normal lives again,” Dr David Pahau, of the authority’s eye clinic, said.
“A lot of people were screened and still needing help but transportation and costs were problems.”
Most of the patients treated had cataracts.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. Worldwide, it is the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40 and is the main cause of blindness in the world.
“It just needs eye surgery to restore vision,” Dr David said.
In Papua New Guinea, treating people with eye problems is difficult because of the cost and the difficulties faced in trying to reach people in remote areas.
“Our target is our old people in the rural area who can’t make it to urban hospitals, so rural outreaches are the way forward,” Dr David said.
“We have done about 200 eye surgeries this year at East Sepik provincial hospital.”
This latest one-week outreach programme was funded by the Sandaun provincial health authority, Raihu Hospital and Aitape district health office.
“Special thanks to the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ and Madang eye team for providing the surgical eye consumables which we were able to use,” David said.
“We also extend our thanks to East Sepik PHA acting chief executive Mark Mauludu and the team for releasing our people for the programme.
“Working in partnership is the way forward for the delivery of health services to our rural majority.”