Update from the Philippines – April 2016
In April, our small team of volunteers including two nurses, an anaesthetist and a registrar, travelled to the Adventist Hospital at Santiago City in the Philippines under the leadership of Foresight’s medical advisor and director, Associate Professor Geoffrey Painter.
“It was our fifth surgical trip to the hospital and we are proud to have treated 131 very blind people during our eight-day visit, from small children to 80-year-olds” says Geoffrey.
This work of the surgical team focused entirely cataract operations, which is the major source of blindness.
Santiago City is a 12-hour drive north-east of Manilla and the area has the highest rates of blindness in the Philippines. It is a rural area with a large population, high levels of poverty and without comprehensive eye care services.
Since 2013, Foresight has been able to help restore sight to 1000 people, many of them children who have been blind since birth.
“There are very few doctors and no government hospitals,” says Geoffrey.
“Some of the people we helped couldn’t even afford the bus fare to the hospital. They would never have had the opportunity to see without our help.”
Geoffrey says that even after 30 trips he has made with Foresight – 18 to the Solomon Islands, six to China and six to the Philippines – he always feels joyous.
“It’s wonderful to give people the chance to regain their vision and be able to live better lives as a result,” he says.