Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seeing Eyes . . . .

In three and a half operating days 137 cataract surgeries have been completed here in Tonj where Mango Ministries is partnering with In Deed and Truth Ministries. 

“I can see your teeth.”  These were the first words out of our first cataract patient when the bandages were removed the day after surgry. 

We’ve had an incredible time here in Tonj since arriving mid-day last Saturday.  In this blog post I’ll walk you through what's been going on. 

Planning for this one week cataract clinic started in April with the logistics of getting here – a half day of flying.  And the staff of In Deed and Truth started looking for cataract patients.  Dr. Tom (kneeling) and Dennis (in black) found many patients to refer to us this week.  Also pictured are Dr. Dan Gradin (left), Richard Tonui, and Dr. Ben Roberts (on right). 

On arrival Saturday we were greeted by our friends Suzy and Sabet Kuj and were wisked off to the government hospital which has some unused rooms they have allowed us to use for this clinic. 

We brought about 750 pounds of equipment from Tenwek including 2 operating microscopes (being assembles above), lots of eye drops, drapes and even the operating tables. 

Registration of patients came next.  Besides the clinic referrals the news of our coming had gone out on the local radio so we have seen an incredible turnout.  That and the fact that no one can remember eye care ever being offered in Tonj before. 

Next the staff examine each patient to see if they are a surgical canditate.  

Wilson (pictured below) checks each patient’s eyes to ensure that the right lens is inserted after the cataract is removed. 

Scrub sinks are improvised.

Instruments are boiled in between cases to sterilize them and Richard has been running between the gas jiko and the operating room where he circulates.

I have beem doing odd jobs trying to keep things moving.  Here I’m folding drapes to prepare for sterilizing. 

It is rainy season in South Sudan which is great as it’s been relatively cool with daytime highs about 85 degrees F.  But that blessing is countered by the difficulty in drying the drapes to keep ahead of the busy surgeons!

Patients receive a local anesthetic block and are then taken to the operating room.

With a patch over their eye each patient is led to the ward where they rest until morning.

Eash evening the wards are bursting at the seams, 43 patients were operated on one day. 

The local staff  have helped immensely with translation, washing operating drapes, running between the clinic and hospital to bring forgotten items, and cooking delicious meals for us.  The South Sudanese pastors who are studying at the pastoral training school here at In Deed and Truth are sharing Bible stories, doing one-on-one counseling, and praying with patients and family members all day long. 

I’ll share some of the patient’s stories in my next blog as well as some “day after surgery” pictures when physical sight is restored.  

A HUGE thank you  to those who are praying and those who have given to make this cataract clinic possible. It's still not too late to give a gift of sight to one Sudanese.  A gift of $150 ensures one South Sudanese receives sight giving surgery and hears about God's love through Jesus Christ.   God is definitely at work!  

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