Health Projects Run by the AHS
What is the need ?When people living in isolated villages suffer impaired vision, they also suffer a serious deterioration in the quality of their life. That is a fact of life which people accept philosophically. We are surrounded by so many life-threatening diseases such as Pneumonia, Malaria, Perinatal Infections and now AIDS, which we must regard as our high priorities. It is easy, almost justifiable, to overlook the needs of the middle aged and elderly.
When life expectancy is 54, old age begins earlier!
Personal StoryRuth is a village woman in a remote area of Oro Province. She has been suffering a gradual deterioration in her eyesight for the last 5-10 years. She could no longer see well enough to make bilums (traditional string bags) or to weave pandanis mats. Her daughter persuaded her to see the Eye Care Nurse, who visited the Health Centre. He tested her eyes and fitted her with spectacles. A smile broke out on her face and tears could be seen on her cheek as the outlines she had accepted for so long appeared in clear detail.
How does Eye Care help ?Many people, like Ruth, accept the general deterioration in their eyesight without comment or complaint. Sometimes they are healthworkers or teachers who say nothing for fear of losing their jobs. Frequently the remedy is simple and they can be fitted with a pair of spectacles. In other cases they may need special treatment and can be referred to a specialist at hospital.
Where is Eye Care provided ?The Anglican Health Service now employs 2 nurses trained in eye care. This is a new programme for us. The intention is that the 2 nurses will regularly visit each of the health facilities in their respective provinces to carry out eye tests and provide spectacles. This has commenced in Popondota diocese (Oro Province) We are fortunate in having the Mt Sion optical workshop in Goroka who are able to supply us with frames and lenses. We provide these to our patients at a subsidised price, to make them as accessible as possible. We hope to extend the programme to the other two diocese, when we are able to train two further eye care nurses. Help Please contact us if you feel you would like to support this programme in some way.