Restoring vision: The Second Eye Campaign in Ruweng Administration Area, South Sudan
"Having impaired vision is extremely tough. I was constantly worried about the possibility of losing my subsistence since I was unable to farm and contribute to my family. Now that I’m able to see, my first action will be to invite all my relatives and friends for thanksgiving and share my happiness with them. I will also resume my farming activities soon, especially at this early stage of the rainy season. Thanks to BPRM, UNHCR, and AHA. "
- The 53-year-old refugee Mohamud was diagnosed with bilateral cataract with complete blindness of the left eye and blurring of the right eye.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine (2004-2007), in Southern Sudan, the magnitude and prevalence of active trachoma and trachomatous trichiasis (TT) are among the highest in the world. Additionally, eye problem is the fourth leading cause of morbidity behind malaria, acute respiratory tract infections and skin diseases in Ruweng Administrative Area refugee camps and the surrounding host community. Blindness does not only affect the elderly, but also children and young people due to poor sanitation, inadequate nutrition. It hinders individual health and productivity, as well as places exceptional burdens on families, as majority of cataract patients are children and elderly that need assistant for mobility and their other needs. Notwithstanding, there is no specialized eye treatment center in the whole of the Administrative Area.
In consideration of the high need, AHA carried out its first eye campaign in March/April 2021. In the course of the 2021 campaign, 320 patients were operated for cataract, 460 for Trachealis, 50 for other eye conditions; and 199 were provided with eyeglasses for refractive errors. As result, parents and siblings were freed from tailing and surveillance of their disabled family members, the treated children were able to start or resume schooling, and the adults were able to reengage in their livelihood activities.
Encouraged by the success obtained during the 2021 campaign and in response to the increased beneficiaries’ demand in the Administrative Area, AHA carried out a second eye campaign from April 15 to May 2. 2022 in collaboration with the Ophthalmologist Association of South Sudan (OASS). The targeted clients were Sudanese refugees in Ajoung Thok refugee camp (46,000), Pamir (44,000) and Yida Settlement (33,000); and patients from the host community from Jam Jang (12,000) and Pariang (15,000) Counties.
-Health post at Ajoung Thok, Pamir, Yida Settlement
To contribute to the reduction in blindness and morbidity from eye conditions among refugees residing in Ajoung Thok, Pamir, Yida Settlement and the surrounding host community population, AHA mobilized, screened, and treated preventable and avoidable blindness; reviewed previous cataracts; and performed TPR and other eye surgeries which were operated during the first campaign. In addition, to maximize the number of eye patients being treated, AHA gave capacity development and transferable skills trainings to clinical officers and other health care professionals in the different health facilities present.