2006 EYE CAMP REPORT

The EC6 took a step ahead of its predecessors. Unlike the previous eye camps, EC6 was comprised of 2 separate camps in July (EC6J) and December (EC6D). The EC6J took place in Dodoma region from 2nd July to 15th July 2006 and the EC6D took place in Dodoma and Morogoro regions from 10th December to 23rd December, 2006.

The EC6D took an even further step by incorporating the pilot run of the Dodoma Cataract Project (DCP). DCP is Ona Networks new project delivering free cataract surgeries to carefully selected economically underprivileged cataract patients.

More than 2565 patients benefited from the December eyecamp that was conducted in Dodoma and Morogoro regions of Tanzania. Among those treated were 65 patients who received free cataract surgeries as part of the DCP.

In combination Morogoro and Dodoma Regions have a total population of about 3.4 million, according to 2002 Tanzania National Population and Housing Census. As for most regions in Tanzania, Morogoro and Dodoma regions have a significant shortage of eye care personnel. To ease this situation, the involvement of non-governmental organizations is vital.

Villages for EC6 were identified in consultation with appropriate government eye care personnel, including the Morogoro regional eye care coordinator, Dr. Yongolo, and the Dodoma regional eye coordinator Dr. Marifa. Initial visits were made to villages to ascertain the need, the economic position and the accessibility of the proposed villages. In addition to this, the support, cooperation and involvement of the village leadership both administrative and at village dispensaries was consolidated.

The EC6 team was comprised of a total of 21 optometric and non-optometric international volunteers from 5 different countries. The team was accompanied by, and worked hand in hand with the Morogoro regional optometrist Mr Machange and for Dodoma with Mr. Mtae.

Several improvements on our services and care of volunteers were noted, these include a bigger bus for the team, from the normal 12 seater bus to 26 seater bus, providing extra comfort to the team, room for more equipment and was important for the transportation of cataract patients. The quality of volunteer accommodation was significantly increased through the use of the services of a commercial hostel. Others were larger team, more optometrists, involvement of students from a local optometry school, donation of 135 cataract consumable sets to Mvumi hospital and strengthened cooperation with Dodoma Regional Hospital.

In conclusion, the EC6 was a great success. The DCP Pilot project was a success in the fact that it has fulfilled its mission in generating better insight and information that will assist in fine-tuning the project. Besides this, 65 patients had their sight restored at no cost to themselves. DCP pilot project that was conducted in December has shed a lot of light on the situation and clarified things in respect to future plans. Future cataract projects will be more effective and run more smoothly based on EC6 experience.