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A great week from beginning to end

November 11th, 2017 · No Comments · News

Friday is a day of prayer in the Gambia, and the hospital closes at lunchtime for people to go to the mosque or back home to their families. This is also the reason that we generally travel to and from the Gambia on friday, so as not to miss any clinical time on other, busier days. Most of the people wear their traditional best clothes on Friday, which involves even brighter colours and vivid fabrics than normal.

Dave led the teaching session with two talks, on biometry and paediatric refraction. Biometry measures the optical power of the eye before cataract surgery, and is a recent development in SZRECC. There is also now a lens bank, meaning that patients are usually able to have an implanted lens that matches their eye. Previously, there was one lens on offer, and anyone with an eye which deviated from the norm would need glasses after surgery just to make up the difference.

After the lectures, we went to examine the four paediatric cataract cases from yesterday. Dave was really pleased with his surgery, and although the children still had a cataract in their other eye, some of them were already saying they could see better than before. In the meantime they will be checked for glasses to correct any residual refractive error, and a bifocal for reading.

There were no patients for me to see, so before the debrief at midday, I spent an hour going round the clinic saying my goodbyes to everyone that has made this visit so enjoyable. Apart from the Link’s long-term commitment to continue providing training, it’s the unsurpassed generosity and welcoming nature of the SZRECC staff that makes us most excited to return year after year. I was given a bright and flashy kaftan by Rohey, one of the cleaners that had taken me under her wing on my first visit last year. It looked awesome and I can see a chance for Singleton to update their uniforms to follow suit.

We left for the airport not long after the debrief, having had one last round of photos with everyone. The next team will arrive in a couple of weeks, consisting of Stella Elliot, link co-ordinator, Gwyn Williams, medical retina consultant, and Rhys Whelan, informatics and information technology.

Thank you for reading.