A free eye care campaign in Afar region

An eye care team from Jimma university department of ophthalmology has conducted a free eye disease screening and surgical campaign in Afar region from Aug 2- 10, 2022.
The department head, Dr. Jafer Kedir, has stated due to the instability in the northern part of Ethiopia, particularly health care facilities in the Afar region, including eye care centers, were affected and failed to function. Hence, the Ministry of Health and the Afar Regional Health Bureau have made a call for help from different institutions.
As a response to this call, Jimma University has donated several ophthalmic equipment and supplies to the region, and the ophthalmology department has promised to conduct one eye screening and surgical campaign for people affected by blinding eye diseases especially, cataracts in the region.
As promised, the department has organized a team consisting of ophthalmologists, ophthalmic nurses, optometrists, general nurses, and other support staff; packed the necessary surgical and screening equipment from the department; secured surgical supplies from its partner (The Himalayan Cataract Project) and moved to Afar region.
In this campaign, the needy people all over the region were assembled in Mohamed Akile Memorial General Hospital, the 2nd largest hospital in Afar regional state, for screening, treatment, and eye surgery.
As a result, about 3,319 patients (1,615 males and 1,704 females) got free screening and treatment for eye diseases accordingly. Among these, cataract surgery was done for 340 patients with blindness (185 females and 155 males) enabling them to regain their vision.
This is beyond the target number (300) and it is also the largest number ever done in a short period (6 surgery days) by the Jimma University ophthalmology department outreach service. A total of 54% of the beneficiaries were females, which is in contrast to the trends in other centers, which are mainly male-dominated.
Jimma University department of ophthalmology acknowledges all responsible bodies who contributed to the success of the campaign, including its staff, JU president’s and Vice president’s office, JUMC’s administrative office, and the transport service sector.
Jimma University’s department of ophthalmology has been expanding its services, and increasing its impacts even beyond its catchment area, proving the JU’s motto “we are in the community”.