Two members of staff from the Vega Baja Hospital, nurse Francisco Cámara Hurtado and the anesthesiologist Jhon Diaz Lara, have just returned from Senegal where they have been providing medical resources and humanitarian aid to people in the town of Thiadiaye.
They travelled as part of a much larger team organised by the Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) “Azul en Acción”, which was founded by a group of local police in Murcia.
The party was made up of many different medical professionals including ophthalmologists, nurses, nursing auxiliaries, anesthesiologists, opticians, administrators, translators and logisticians where is provided aid in the country for a little over two weeks.
During the period 1,527 consultations were carried out in addition to 297 surgeries, 95% of which were cataract operations. A further 795 local people underwent eyesight tests and were fitted with glasses.
Paco Cámara said that “what impressed me was just how simple it is to change a person’s life by giving him back his sight and how little it all costs. In Spain we carry out cataract operations very quickly while in countries such as Senegal we saw people who had been blind for more than 20 years with simple cataracts or blind children born with congenital cataracts, all of which we were quickly able to rectify. ”
For Dr. Lara, this was his fourth expedition, the previous three in Kara, Togo. All of them have been with the same objective, to return the vision or to improve the quality of those people who suffer from eye diseases that are easily curable or treatable.
“It is all so rewarding because we carry out the project every year and we know that the benefits for those that we are able to treat are exceptional, given that we are able to restore the eyesight for the majority of the people that we see. When we are able to restore the eyesight, particularly of a young child, there is no greater happiness, “said the anesthesiologist.
Both of the aid workers highlighted the lack of resources, infrastructure and qualified personnel, as well as the need for assistance from the first world.
They encourage other professionals to offer their services in similar ventures but warn that they are aware of where they are going, that they will see a lot of poverty, that the work is exhausting but rewarding, that there are many hours of sacrifice, but that in the end, when they are able to help so many, it is really is worth it.