See the Change: Monday

Welcome to Nkhotakota District Hospital for cataract outreach week!

Watch the video to have a look around...

It’s Monday morning and there are already 20 people waiting, hoping to access treatment to restore their sight or protect their vision.

Many have waited months for this camp to arrive in their District – for those who are blind and living in poverty, travelling five hours to the specialist eye hospital at Nkhoma is simply impossible. Even getting here to the District hospital been challenge for many.

Meet Dorothy...

Dorothy, 71, is one of the first patients to arrive, guided by her 15 year old granddaughter, Evelyn. Until she lost her sight to cataracts, Dorothy used to run a small fruit and veg stall at her home, and would also prepare lunch for her grandchildren every day, while her daughter works on her stall in the market. But now she can’t do anything on her own – and relies on her grandchildren to help her instead.

“The eye problem started 3 years ago when a cloudy thing started to cover my eyes. My children told me they could see something covering my eyes....”

Cataract patient, Dorothy is being led by her grandaughter.
Dorothy standing outside. She is wearing a peach coloured shawl on her head.

“It is painful for me because I feel like a burden...I’m always sitting on the veranda doing nothing so I ask my children to switch on the radio”.

Through the radio, Dorothy heard about the cataract outreach and was determined to come:

“This was my chance. I had to take it.” 

But there was a problem. Since losing her sight, Dorothy can’t  leave home by herself – she relies on her family for help with everything. And her daughter was worried and didn’t want to bring her mother for treatment today: would treatment really be free? Is it safe? Fear and superstition around medical treatment is common in rural Malawi - she’s heard rumours that doctors remove people’s eyes.

Fortunately, Dorothy has an ally in her granddaughter Evelyn – together they devised a plan to get to hospital “I had planned to walk but my granddaughter collected money to get me a bicycle taxi.”

Dorothy being led through the hospital by her grandchild.
Cataract patient, Dorothy is being screened for cataracts by a health worker.

Within hours of arriving at hospital, Dorothy is screened by eye specialist Precious Chirwa, her cataract diagnosis is confirmed, and she’s prepared for surgery,

Dorothy is a Muslim and her faith comforts her as she waits for surgery.

“God can heal, and for the weak, God gives strength,” she says.

The surgery team have removed Dorothy’s cataracts and the operation has gone well. They cover Dorothy’s eyes with bandages; she will remain in the hospital for the night. When the patches are removed tomorrow, she hopes to see again for the first time. 

Will you join us tomorrow to find out how the surgery has gone?  

Dorothy is sat with two unknown patients - all wearing eye patches following cataract surgery.

Prayer of the Day 

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

Father God, we thank you that we can always trust your guidance and your provision, even at uncertain times. Thank you for the courage of Dorothy and many others in taking difficult journeys to access cataract surgery. We know that a lot of people who are awaiting surgery will be nervous, either for themselves or for family members: we pray for them to know you are with them, leading and guiding them along unfamiliar paths. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Christian Blind Mission UK is registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales as charity number 1058162, and with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator as charity number SC041101.

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