The National, Tuesday October 8th, 2013
MOTHER of three Adua Makasi is seeing her children for the first time – after undergoing an eye surgery.
And she will be forever thankful to the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) outreach health programme, which recently conducted eye surgeries at Daru Hospital in Western.
Makasi, 27, suffered from congenital cataracts, a clouding of the lens that is present at birth. It caused her eyesight to deteriorate , making her blind 10 years ago at the age of 17.
Since they got married, husband Wiesa did the family gardening, made sago, provided for the family and took care of the children.
Makusa remained most of the time at home because she needed help to move around.
When they heard about the free eye checks provided by the YWAM medical ship at Daru, they paddled in a canoe for two weeks from their village in South Fly to reach Daru with their children aged five, three and one.
They desperately wanted to reach the YWAM medical ship so that she could have her eyes tested.
When the YWAM team first met Makasi, she could not see a hand waving a metre in front of her, let alone read an eye chart.
Optometrist Julie Jones, a volunteer from New Zealand, recalls meeting the woman.
“When Makasi walked in the room she had to be led in by her husband. Her eyes were downcast and her face was expressionless,” she said.
“When we asked her to sit down, she had to put her hand out to feel where the chair was.”
After undergoing testing, the ophthalmic team concluded that Makasi was a surgical candidate. The two 30-minute procedures to remove cataracts from both eyes produced immediate results.
And Makasi saw her three children for the first time.
“When Makasi came in the day after her surgery for post-op, she was a completely different person,” Jones said.
“She didn’t need anyone to guide her around the room. She was independent and could read almost to the bottom of the eye chart.”
Makasi was one of 65 patients who received eye surgery at the Daru Hospital in the past two weeks.
The outreach is the fourth year of the YWAM Medical Ship’s health and training service delivery programme in the country.
This year alone, the YWAM MSA has achieved 63,548 outputs including immunisations, family planning, primary health care services, dentistry procedures, optical services and training for rural health workers.
YWAM MSA’s outreach season was helped by made possible through the Department of Health, Steamships Trading Company, InterOil, Western Provincial Government, Gulf Provincial Government and PNG Ports Corporation.
The YWAM Medical Ship will be returning to Townsville in two weeks.
It returns to PNG in March, 2014, for its fifth outreach programme.