The National, Thursday July 18th, 2013
YOUTH with a Mission (YWAM) Medical Ships Australia (MSA) just completed its latest outreach in Gulf.
Townsville’s local ophthalmologist Dr Bill Talbot again joined the YWAM MSA team for the outreach from June 20-July 7.
Talbot performed 37 operations, mostly cataracts, over the two weeks.
Many individuals like John Mark, 19, travelled great distances to meet with Talbot and the YWAM MSA team.
Mark was flown by a group of missionaries from Kotidanga, which is in the northern region of Gulf, in order to have the cataract surgery.
These ophthalmology surgeries have proved to be life changing for the many individuals as well as their families and their village.
“It is what’s set in motion in these people’s lives which makes every minute worth it,” Talbot said.
Poea had a cataract in her right eye, while being completely blind in both eyes due to a past injury.
A mother of four, Poea first noticed a cataract had begun to develop on her right eye 15 years ago but because of lack of funds, an operation was a distant dream.
“It was difficult for me and my little children. If they were in trouble I could hear them calling for me but I was not able to do anything,” Poea said.
Because of her lack of vision Poea could never be left alone, when completing daily tasks she had to be led around her village by one of her children.
On July 3, Poea had the cataract from her right eye removed. The day after the operation Poea’s sight had already drastically improved. When being assessed in “post op” Poea was able to recognise light and movement from six metres away – something she had not been able to do for almost 10 years.
While other eye disease limited the improvement of her vision, the positive impact on her life was incredible. She was able to see the face of her one-year-old son for the first time.
“Before I could only think and walk … now I can see and walk again. I can do things on my own. I’ve regained my independence,” Poea said.