CEML Ophthalmologist, Dr. Steve Collins, recently returned from a two-week trip to the central Angolan village of Andulo. The people living in this remote community have no easy access to medical care and those who can make the journey to see a doctor can rarely afford the fees.
During his visit, Dr. Collins performed over 500 vision consultations during the two-week eye clinic. From these assessments, 100 patients were deemed good candidates for cataract surgery. Sadly, many of the candidates had to be turned away because they could not pay the 7,000 Angolan Kwanzas.
Only 26 people from the approved candidates actually received the cataract-removal operation.
Dr. Collins was shocked to find that 35% of the 500 patients he assessed had irreversible onchocerciasis, or river blindness. This disease, caused and spread by the bites of the black fly, has no known vaccine and causes severe itching, rashes and blindness. Unfortunately Dr. Collins has no treatment to offer the patients and cannot reverse or prevent their blindness.
The effects of this disease cripple the economy in this region and cause many to lose hope in the future.
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