Vision of a bright future in Africa

Consultant ophthalmic surgeon Mr Larry Benjamin is a trustee and medical volunteer with blindness prevention charity Orbis UK. He tells us about the skills and knowledge doctors can bring to a medical charity, both in the field and on the board.

ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital Program - Ndola & Kitwe, Zambia  - October 29 through November 9, 2012 -- Daisy Nifasha, 1 year old boy, presented to the Kitwe Eye Hospital with bilateral alternating convergent squint.  Volunteer Faculty member Dr Larry Benjamin, a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon from Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, United Kingdom, chose his case for surgery at the Kitwe Eye Hospital, and performed a Bimedial recession and bilateral inferior oblique recession.   -- From October 29 through November 9, 2012, Zambian eye doctors, nurses and biomedical technicians had the opportunity to work side by side with leading international specialists and Flying Eye Hospital staff on the Flying Eye Hospital and at local hospitals in Kitwe and Ndola. The primary thematic component of the skills exchange program focused upon pediatric ophthalmology and aimed to help promote engagement from public health officials and raise awareness about the leading causes of blindness in Zambia while helping improve sub-specialty services available through hands-on training and didactic knowledge transfer.   During the 2 week program, ORBIS worked its clinical host, Kitwe Eye Hospital and with the support of the Ndola Central Hospital, the program aimed to offer hands-on skill exchange to approximately 10 ophthalmologists in Cataract (MSICS and Phaco), Glaucoma and Retinal Disease, 20 nurses and 8 Biomedical engineers.  As part of ORBIS's conference level participant module, 50 participants benefited through lectures, case discussions, surgical demonstrations, and cataract simulator training.

Mr Larry Benjamin examines a patient at the Kitwe Clinic, Zambia

There are 39 million blind people in the world and 90% live in a developing country. What’s staggering is that 80% of blindness is treatable or preventable. So millions of people are suffering unnecessarily.