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Eye care mission could exceed surgery target

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HEALTH Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says the visiting Bright Journey Eye Care Mission is set to exceed its target of 500 cataract surgeries.

The 11-member Chinese technical team is performing free cataract surgeries at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) on Jamaicans in need.

The members, who began working at KPH from April 2 and will end on April 26, comprise five ophthalmologists, three nurses, two engineers, and one technician.

Speaking with JIS News during his visit to the hospital on North Street in Kingston on Thursday, Dr Tufton said 440 individuals have benefited from the mission to date.

“We would like to show our appreciation to the Chinese delegation that are here doing the surgeries. They came a few weeks ago with a commitment to do 500 surgeries and I understand they have done some 440. So, we are well on target to achieving the 500 mark and I am told we may exceed that, so it really demonstrates the importance of partnerships in public health. The mission has been successful and we would like to see more of it,” he noted.

Dr Tufton said he welcomes the collaboration with the Chinese Government to support this area of healthcare.

“Eye care is a significant area in Jamaica. It is typically underserved. We are moving to sharpen the policy and improve the focus to ensure greater prevention and buildout capacity for curative measures,” he said.

Dr Tufton said the collaboration has had several other positive results in shared knowledge and information between local and international medical teams.

Retiree Jo-Anne Bromfield, who had her surgery on April 10, said the experience was a positive one. “It was good. Thanks be to the Lord. I can see properly now,” she told JIS News.

Miguel Bradley, who also received the surgery on his right eye, said he can already see positive results from the procedure.

“Things are brighter. I can see clearly. Before I had foggy vision, now I can see crystal-clear,” he said.

To date, 1,000 persons have been screened and 600 selected for surgery. In addition to the surgeries, the mission has also donated medical equipment to KPH, and offer training to the nurses and doctors.

This is Bright Journey’s second visit to Jamaica. In May 2015, more than 200 Jamaicans benefited from free cataract surgeries at the KPH, while the hospital was gifted medical equipment and supplies valued at US$400,000.

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