Health Momase News Papua New Guinea

LAILA-PIH EYE TEAM RESTORES VISION FOR RESIDENTS IN WEWAK

LAILA Foundation, in collaboration with Pacific International Hospital (PIH) and East Sepik Provincial Health Authority (PHA), completed a successful four-day, free-of-charge cataract surgery initiative from June 12-16.

The newly established Eye Unit at East Sepik Boram Specialist Provincial Hospital welcomed its first patients, ultimately bestowing 76 individuals with the transformative “gift of sight.”

Mr. Mathew Kaluvia, CEO of East Sepik PHA, and Director of Curative Medical Services, Dr. Kambo, expressed their profound gratitude to the LAILA-PIH Eye Team. Their journey to Wewak, donation of surgical supplies and lenses and collaboration with resident Ophthalmologist, Dr. Denis Likia, and his team marked the inauguration of the state-of-the-art Eye Unit, complete with its own operating theatre.

In concert with Dr. Amyna Sultan, OBE from LAILA Foundation, and Dr. Vivek Jairaj from PIH, the team of three surgeons restored sight by conducting cataract surgeries. They removed cloudy lenses (cataract) from patients’ eyes and replaced them with lens implants, restoring clear vision to 76 beneficiaries from both urban and rural areas of Wewak.

“Following a three-year absence due to COVID-related closures, now having an in-residence full-time ophthalmologist and visiting eye surgery team has made a significant impact,” said Sr Agatha Maru, a dedicated ophthalmic clinician, who along with her team had identified around 150 patients with cataracts.

Expressing his encouragement over the successful partnership, CEO Kaluvia foresees the collaboration strengthening in the future and extending to other healthcare areas. Dr. Kambo also commented on the great potential of the new facilities, looking forward to hosting other specialist teams from PIH and providing care in areas such as Orthopedics and Cardiology, along with possibilities of remote access to imaging and histopathology reporting services.

During the farewell dinner, Dr. Sultan expressed her gratitude to all parties, particularly noting the behind-the-scenes contributions that enabled the successful cataract surgery initiative. She stated, “this program exemplifies the power of teamwork and public-private partnerships in achieving common goals.” 

Dr. Sultan gave thanks for the warm welcome extended to the four-member eye surgery team from the LAILA Foundation and PIH. She concluded, “Some of our patients have suffered avoidable blindness and have unnecessarily lived in darkness for years. Now, they can see a brighter future. For that, we are all incredibly grateful.”

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