Some 577 residents within the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), received free cataract surgeries between June 17 and 20 at the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester.
The surgeries were facilitated by Hilary Morgan, a Florida-based Jamaican who heads the entity – Mind Body and Soul (MBS) Health Ministry – which has organised the surgeries for the last seven years.
Mission leader, Nitin Shah, told JIS News that on this trip, they also performed more than 2,000 eye screenings for prescription glasses and distributed more than 100 pairs of glasses.
There were more than 200 additional prescriptions that will be filled by the MBS Health Ministry, and 574 patients were screened for anaemia and measurement of haemoglobin, using a non-invasive pulse oximeter.
Those who were anaemic were given advice on how to change their diets to improve their health.
Shah also donated the pulse oximeter to the hospital.
Speaking at the closing ceremony for Cataract Camp Mission 2023 at the hospital on June 20, Shah thanked the team of ophthalmologists and other medical personnel who travelled from the USA and worked around the clock to carry out the 577 surgeries.
He had high praise for the local team, led by consultant ophthalmologist Gavin Henry, adding that he was pleased to have surpassed last year’s figure of 479 surgeries.
“We thank the patients who put blind faith in us and show up for the service that we offer. People from outside like us; they don’t know us and yet they put so much faith in us to take care of their problems,” Shah said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the SRHA, Wayne Chen, described the MBS team as a terrific group of people who do the work all the time.
“Those of us who are in the public and are accessible to everyone, we know the needs because the cries come to us daily. So, when we come to an event like this and see the work you have done to give more than 500 of our citizens their vision, I feel and know the positive impact it makes on their lives,” Chen said.
For his part, Regional Director, Michael Bent, said the SRHA was blessed to have the continued strong relationship with MBS, which continues to help the region take care of some of its needs.
“We are very happy for this long and lasting relationship. I don’t think any other hospital in Jamaica has such a strong and long bond as Mandeville has with MBS, and a number of people are depending on you, so we look forward to next year,” Bent said.
Among the recipients of the free eye surgery was Carmen Roye from Carter District in Craighead, Manchester.
“I have been coming here for three years and my surgery was finally done. It has made a great change, because I used to feel like I had gravel rolling around in my eye and it used to pitch out a lot a water like a river. Since the surgery there is still a little water, but no gravel feeling,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Terry Ann Blake, heard about the Mind Body and Soul team some four years ago, but her appointment was cancelled when COVID-19 came.
“They called me back this year to come in and I did it (the surgery). I feel much better now and I hope to see better when the bandage comes off. I couldn’t see much out of it; everything was blurred,” said Blake.