Collaboration with Virtual i Technologies

HARAR & Dubti - December 2013 - January 2014

Eight self funding volunteers from Australia travelled to Ethiopia to participate in Eyes for Africa’s (EFA) two week free sight restoring campaign at Jugal Hospital in Harar, screening 1,500 patients from surrounding, outlying areas of the city.

EFA performed 201 small incision cataract surgeries in 10 working days, with Dr Francis Nathan performing 31 surgeries (four working days only); Dr Abu Beyene performing 175 surgeries; and Jugal Hospital's Cataract Surgeon Shemshedin Ahmed performing 5 surgeries.

Photos from the trip

Anaesthetist Dr Balan Sivasubramaniam taught local Anaesthetic Nurse Abel Asnake the technique for regional eye blocks and supervised placement of Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA) for patients under general anaesthetic.

Orthoptist Kate Roberts performed A-Scans and Keratometer measurements of patients eyes prior to surgery.

Francis Merlin was our admin support keeping patient records; Semira Muhammed provided general support eg washing patients faces prior to surgery, applying theatre hats and shoe covers and cutting vast quantities of gauze for sterilising prior to theatre. Gary Holt was our official photographer and managed maintenance and problem solving in the field.

A family of four, the father and three children, with bi-lateral cataracts, had been operated on in January 2013 and had returned to Jugal Hospital to visit EFA. The older boy and second child now have excellent vision, although the vision of the baby and father is less effective.

EFA prescribed and purchased a pair of +19 glasses free-of-charge for one male patient at a cost of 900Birr ($US45).


   DUBTI - Afar Region - Dubti Hospital - 13-25 January 2014


For the second two weeks in Ethiopia we said goodbye to three volunteers and welcomed two more from Australia in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, making a total of 9 volunteers going to Dubti.

We hired a 14 seater coaster bus to drive us 12 hours to Dubti in the remote desert Afar Region.

EFA screened mostly Dubti people for the first week, then ‘DAGU’ (word of mouth) kicked in, including radio announcements. So, in Week Two we screened many people from outlying rural villages, eg (distance from Dubti): Asaita 60km; Datibahiri 75km; Kori 350km; Chifra 250km; Teru 350km; Logiya 10km; Mille 75km; and Gowani 225kms.

Dr Abu Beyene was EFA's only Ophthalmologist during this 11 day campaign and performed an outstanding total of 216 cataract surgeries.

General anaesthetics were administered to four children by the local and volunteer Anaesthetists.

100+ patients presented for their post-operative check. Although most patients had not used their free eye drops, there were no infections.

The antibiotic Oc tetracycline is administered free-of-charge by Dubti Referral Hospital's Pharmacy to all patients diagnosed with Trachoma.

Anaesthetists Dr Stacey Swinkels and Dr Rob Boeke both taught and supervised local Anaesthetist Endris Yiman Ahmed and Ophthalmic Nurse Solomon Worku, in techniques for regional and subtenons eye blocks.

Dr Rahul Chakrabarti and Dr Tanushree Chatterbee discussed many patient eye complaints with local Ophthalmic Nurse Edlawit Molla from Harar.

Nurses Julie Anstis and Elise Chick educated and supervised scrub scout nurses Endris Yiman Ahmed and Osman Ahmed about ophthalmic instruments, the correct handling of blades, the care of cannulae, and proper disposal of sharps.

Dr Abu and Julie Tyers demonstrated and taught all post-op patients the correct instillation of eye medication, and then observed a family member doing the same for the patient.