Alotau Provincial Hospital’s ophthalmology (eye surgery) team performed sight restoring eye surgeries at Watuluma Rural Hospital, Milne Bay Province, in collaboration with YWAM Medical Ships last month.
The purpose of the visit was to provide ophthalmic surgical services to compliment the optometry and screening services provided by the YWAM Medical Ship outreach teams during their patrol to Kiriwina-Goodenough district.
The team of four and their supplies were transported on the YWAM Medical Ship, MV YWAM PNG, to Bolubolu before they moved up to Watuluma. Over one week, the team screened 79 patients and completed 27 surgeries, including 20 cataract surgeries, 6 Pterygium excision and grafting surgeries, and 1 penetrating eye injury repair.
The penetrating eye injury repair was performed on a 10 year-old boy who had received the injury 10 days prior to the team’s arrival. The patient was referred by YWAM Medical Ships during their visit to the boy’s nearby village.
Initially the boy could only count fingers at two metres away. After undergoing surgery, the boy’s visual acuity improved to 6/18 one day after surgery.
Team leader and ophthalmologist, Dr Helai Baru, said he was pleased with the results from the patrol, and was grateful for the collaboration with YWAM Medical Ships that helped make the visit possible.
“YWAM Medical Ships assisted not only with transport for our team and our supplies to the island, but also by screening and referring patients to us. This helped more people access the service while enabling us to focus on surgery – it was a great team effort,” said Dr Baru.
YWAM Medical Ships Senior Clinic Leader, Ms Jennifer Kurylowicz, said the collaborative patrol contributes toward the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and PNG National Prevention of Blindness (NPBL) committee’s goal to provide 20,000 cataract surgeries in PNG by 2020.
“The patrol is a great representation of partnership – the bringing together of strengths and resources to achieve a shared vision – the provision of ophthalmic services to the rural majority,” said Ms Kurylowicz
The MV YWAM PNG is currently serving in Gulf Province in collaboration with Gulf Provincial Health authorities.