Eye Camp in Burkina Faso
December 2016, Bobo Diulasso, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso, home to a vibrant cultural heritage as well as the largest craft market in Africa, also suffers from massive deforestation, landscape degradation, slow economic development and low life expectancy. As of 2009, there were less than 1,000 doctors in the country—that’s less than one doctor for every 10,000 people.
Our volunteers recognized the country’s need for health care support and decided to address it. The same team that has held multiple eye camps in Kenya and Mexico, treating for cataracts and refractive blindness, decided to go to Burkina Faso.
From December 3 -12, 2016, our team worked with the local population in the 22nd district of Bobo Diulasso, the second largest city in the country.
Outreach and pre-screening of cataracts was conducted in advance of the camp to identify patients. Those chosen were effectively blind; they could only perceive light vs. darkness.
Working long hours, our team was able to perform 219 cataract surgeries in just 9 days. We also provided a total of 420 reading glasses and sunglasses.
One patient touched the hearts of our volunteers deeply: an 8-month-old girl who had cataracts in her right eye. After her initial check up, a tumor was suspected and confirmed with an ultrasound scan. As it is in a very early stage, we were able to refer the little girl for treatment and her prognosis is good – if she hadn’t been brought to our medical camp for eye treatment, it likely would have gone undetected until it was too late.
We also donated and installed a microscope with a viewfinder that will allow local doctors to continue with cataract surgeries.
Looking to the future, our team plans to return and carry out campaigns more regularly, working closely with local doctors to help prevent blindness and restore sight for more of Burkina Faso’s people.