By Jennifer Browning
Thomonde, HAITI-Leaving the SUVs behind today the Bascom Palmer group left the Project Medishare office at 8 a.m. and took a short walk to the hospital. It was a good opportunity for the medical team to get a glimpse of the town where they are spending their evenings
By the end of the day the team had seen 278 patients.
The Bascom Palmer team said there were less cases of glaucoma seen today than yesterday in Casse, but there were two cases of a hereditary eye disease.
“We saw a lot of glaucoma yesterday but today we saw a lot of people with cataracts. There were two in one family with a degenerative eye disease which is hereditary.,” Dr. Clarkson said. “We saw two cases of the same eye disease in Casse yesterday but we have no idea if all the patients in this case are related.”
Like yesterday everyone got a pair of glasses to help them see better or they got sunglasses for protection.
“We feel like we are helping but our major concern is for people who need something major because they have glaucoma or cataracts,” Dr. Clarkson said. “For instance the patients diagnosed with cataracts were prescribed eye drops and they were given their first months supply. If they don’t continue to use the treatment then they could continue to lose their vision, then in that case we haven’t really helped them much.”
Surgery is required order to help the patients with cataracts. But surgery is a limited option in Haiti, and the nearest hospital for this type of surgery is in Cange a 45 minute drive from Thomonde or a two and a half hour walk.
The frustrating aspect is the follow-up for people who have the bigger problems,” Dr. Clarkson said. “For people who don’t have a major problem who needed glasses we have helped them in a more long term way, but the people with cataracts it is more difficult. One woman we recommended to go Cange because of her cataracts. She seemed crestfallen when we mentioned the hospital in Cange because she told us that she had no way to get there.”
Project Medishare’s Country Director, Marie Chery, said that a list is being made of all the patients who were given prescriptions for their eye conditions. A health agent employed by Medishare who will take the list and reach out to these patients to see that they get the refill prescription they need.