Mrs Saleha came from a remote village of Natore district to a hospital in Dhaka for treatment of her 4-year-old son Mubarak who was born blind. Mubarak had congenital cataract and could not see things properly. Mrs Saleha heard from a local school teacher that surgery could restore the sight of her blind child. But she was worried about the cost of the surgery.
Once, she heard about a hospital providing cataract surgery for poor children at almost zero cost. The hospital named Wahida Matin Memorial CSF Child Vision Centre has been converting darkness into light to the children who are born blind or became blind in course of their childhood for more than one year.
So far, more than 12 thousand children have been screened, 1500 children have been treated and cured with cataract surgery. In order to expand access to care, 10 local NGOs of the Child Sight Network and 1000 community volunteers have been trained and encouraged to detect and refer blind children to the hospital for sight restoring surgery.
They screen out blind children in different rural areas of Bangladesh, provide counselling and motivate them to undergo sight restoring surgery. They send them to their hospital with all expenses they need.
The hospital with the help of Dark and Light Blind Care, Netherlands has been providing all these services with free of cost including medication, cost of surgery, travel cost and children’s accommodation with their family members during hospital stay.
Md Jahidul Islam Chowdhury, coordinator of the project said that the ophthalmologists working in the hospital are extremely dedicated and particularly skilled to deal with children.
He informed that in addition to treating patients, they provide counselling to the family members of the children to motivate other people in the community so that no children left untreated in the community due to ignorance.
Source: The Daily Star, October 10, 2009