BILAL MUSLIM MISSION OF TANZANIA
BETA CHARITABLE TRUST REPORT ON
SHINYANGA FREE EYE CAMP
14TH TO 16TH OCTOBER 2022
The Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania in conjunction with the BETA Foundation of UK organized a Free Eye Camp in Shinyanga from 14th to 16th November 2022. Shinyanga has a population of approximately Three Million and there are three dominant tribes, Wasukuma, Wanyamwezi and Wasumbwa.
The advanced team comprising of three volunteers flew to Mwanza where they spent a night before travelling to Shinyanga by room which is 147 kms from Mwanza. The team of professional and other volunteers traveled by flight and others by road due to limited to lack of flights on this sector.
Anver bhai Andani was the host of the guests in Shinyanga and hosted the ladies’ volunteers in his brand new three-bedroom comfortable flat.
The arrangements for the camp and surgery were done at the Chuo Cha Ualimu – Shycom, and Shinyanga General Referral Hospital courtesy of the Head of Chuo and Doctor in charge of the Hospital Operation and, Member of Parliament Special Seats.
The cooperation and smooth running of the camp by all stakeholders was very appreciative. The Shycom and the Hospital were overwhelmed by patients and Hon. Lucy Mayenga and her team were on sight at all times to control and guide the crowd. All patients at the Shycom drank free ‘uji’.
The surgeons continued to conduct surgeries of cataracts for another two days totaling 140 surgeries. In total 366 surgeries (178 females and 188 males) were successfully done, the youngest was 18 years old and the oldest was 100 years old. All cataract patients were given breakfasts and those who stayed back for the night were given food.
Most of the patients had lost their eye sights since the past two years and one lady of 97 years old regained her vision after 12 years and was excited to be able to see her great grandchild for the first time.
The surgeons went back to recheck the patients after a week and the final check was done in the end of November 2022.
The statistics say that:
- Eye conditions are amongst the top 10 diseases in Tanzania
- There is only one ophthalmologist for every 1.3 million population
- 80% blindness treatable and preventable
According to WHO, the leading causes of blindness in Tanzania is cataract 50%; Corneal blindness 20%; Glaucoma 10%; and other eye diseases like cancer, retinal and optic nerves diabetes, retinopathy, maculopathies, genetic anomalies and albinism.
The highlight of the camp was the visit by the Regional Commissioner Hon Sofia Mjema, accompanied by high profile government dignitaries, to the hospital. The delegation spoke to patients and got firsthand information from them about their treatment during surgery, and then they paid a visit to Shycom where they were able to witness the operation of the professionals and volunteers. The Regional Commissioner was briefed by our spokesman Br. Noor-ul-Ain Sheriff as to how we go to serve in remote villages. Our pharmacist Sis Sofia Bharwani briefed her on the importance of having a cleanliness drive at grass root level as many youth and children had eye infection due to uncleanliness
A worrisome statistic was found in Shinyanga that whilst normally the number of cataract patients in most of the camps conducted are 4 to 5% of the total patients screened, in Shinyanga it was 8-9% in spite of a number of surgeries being carried out two weeks prior to this camp. This is a serious matter health-wise and needs to be considered seriously.
We had run out of stock of some readers spectacles during the course of the Camp, we have now managed to get them of which more than 100 spectacles had to be specifically made as the forces of the lenses were complicated. These have been collected from us by Hon Lucy Mayenga who will distribute them to the concerned soon.
Below are some pictures from the Camp:
We wish to record our appreciation to the following:
- Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania for arranging for the camp.
- Beta Charitable Trust of Essex UK for sponsoring Eye surgeries.
- Hon Lucy Mayenga for inviting us to visit Shinyanga
- Head of Chuo and his abled staff members who cooperated fully with us at all times.
- The Doctor in Charge of Shinyanga Hospital and members of his team in surgery department.
- The RMO and DMO for their cooperation.
- Alhaj Anvar Andani of Shinyanga for his hospitality and accommodation
- Alhaj Sibtain Meghjee of Mwanza for availing transport to the first group of volunteers
- Our team of excellent surgeons, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and volunteers who tirelessly gave their services with sympathy and great care to patients.
Coordinator – Eye Camps
Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania