What you need to know:
- The three-day camp at Lira Hospital is aimed at providing eyecare services to the underprivileged.
- 1000: Number of people the camp organisers are aiming to treat in three weeks.
Erunasan Onweng has been suffering from poor sight and other eye-related problems for almost 10 years.
But the 92-year-old man’s family at Amuluakere Village, Amunamun Parish, Adok Sub-county in Dokolo District, can barely afford his treatment.
“We took him for a surgery at Mengo Hospital in Kampala in 2016 but after the operation, there has been no improvement,” Mr Dickens Odur, his son, says.
Fortunately, Mr Ongweng was among hundreds of people who received treated during a free eye screening and surgery camp for underprivileged people in the northern region at Lira Regional Referal Hospital in Lira District on Monday.
The three-day camp is organised by Pakistan Association- Lira with the support from Overseas Pakistanis Global Foundation Africa (OPGFA).
The camp has so far attracted about 500 patients at the Lira hospital eye department.
Mr Eric Takayula, an eye patient from Kamuli District, whose left eye was operated on at OPGFA’s free eye camp in Jinja City on December 9, is back for another surgery in his right eye.
“I worked as a boda boda rider in Kampala for 16 years and later I started suffering from poor vision caused by diabetes,” Mr Takayula says, adding that he was not able to see for six years.
“When I heard that eye specialists were coming to Jinja, I was among hundreds of people who went there and received the treatment. My left eye was operated on and I was able to see again,” he adds.
Sr Judith Nanyonyo, the senior principal nursing officer at Lira Hospital, says: “We embrace everyone who comes for the services . It is timely and we expect excellent services to be offered to our patients.”
Mr Muhammad Sardar Nawaz, the president of Pakistan Association-Lira, says the camp is a gift from Pakistani community to the people of Lango Sub-region.
Mr Sikandar Iftikhar Cheema, the president and founder of OPGFA, says at least 154 people were attended to on the first day of the camp.
“We started this eye check-up and cataract surgery in Mayuge, Jinja and Mulago and our target is to treat 1,000 patients within three weeks,” Mr Cheema told Daily Monitor yesterday.
He advised people to take good care of their eyes.
“The eye is a very important and sensitive part of the body. When you are using a boda boda, please wear sunglasses. When you are under the scorching sun, protect your eyes,” he said.
While flagging off the exercise on behalf of the Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, Mr Lawrence Egole, Lira Resident City Commissioner, lauded the development partner for extending a healing hand to the community.
“I am grateful to the Pakistani community that are in Lango, Kampala and beyond because they have always joined hands in supporting us. Every end of year, they mobilise the little resources they have and help with those who cannot afford,” Mr Egole said.
“We are thankful as the government of Uganda and we also owe Dr [Aceng] who has been in touch with these people; it is her initiative that these people are here today,” he added.
Mr Egole also hailed the minister for supporting and being passionate about the health of people in the sub-region.
“It is hardly a year since she became the MP for Lira City but she has made a lot of contribution because we now have the blood bank which will be built here, we have the out-patient department we commissioned two weeks ago,” he said.