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The new President of the ESCRS, Roberto Bellucci, has pledged to continue the society’s support for the two fundraising projects. "Our support of ORBIS & OXFAM continues to be very rewarding,” said Dr Bellucci, "and it is a very important part of the society's activities. “I am delighted to announce our continuing support for the ORBIS and OXFAM projects for a further two years and I look forward to building on the work we have done to date.”
A total of €35,435 was donated to the two charities in 2013. Funds were initially raised from delegates when registering for the 18th ESCRS Winter Meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia and once again during registration of the XXXI Congress of the ESCRS in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The ESCRS Board also contributed to make up the total funds. Thank you to everyone who showed their support by donating to these to worthy charities.
9 year old Mulawu Birlie lives in the Chilga District in Northern Gondar. The youngest of 9 children, Mulawu was the only member of his family suffering from poor vision and unable to attend school. As such, his elder brother took him the 90km to central Gondar to visit a private clinic where he was diagnosed with traumatic cataract on his right eye and referred to Gondar University Hospital for his surgery.
Before Mulawu’s surgery, the paediatric ophthalmic nurse provided Mulawu and his brother with the necessary information about the prevention of childhood blindness, the procedure of cataract surgeries for children and importance of follow-up care after surgery.
Dr. Mulusew successfully performed Mulawu’s surgery and his sight improved significantly. Mulawu’s brother was very happy by the outcome of the surgery, excitedly stating that the family members will strive to provide the opportunity for Mulawu to start primary school in the year to come.
"There is no way we can thank you other than through song and dance” says Victorine, representative of the local water committee as we are welcomed in the remote village of Mambingi. Up until June of this year, the community could only get water, the most basic of all human rights, from an unprotected local spring after passing through thick forest vegetation where women felt vulnerable and were often bitten by snakes attracted to the surrounding palm oil trees. Today, thanks to Oxfam, and our local partners Hyfro, Mambingi has some 16 water points spread throughout the village managed proudly by local committees. Importantly, the water is clean and safe reducing the risk of spread of preventable diseases such as cholera and dysentery which regularly plague communities forced to drink whatever water may flow nearby. Victorine laughs at me when we ask how long she now has to travel get to get water. Leaning across and stretching out her hand, “no time at all”, she says. “It is right beside us”.
Once again the ORBIS & OXFAM booth will be at the annual ESCRS Congress. Located in the Registration Area (Level 0) of the Amsterdam RAI. Please come and chat with us, we would love to answer any questions you might have.
“There is no way we can thank you other than through song and dance” says Victorine, representative of the local water committee as we are welcomed in the remote village of Mambingi in the north eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Up until June of this year, the community could only get water, the most basic of all human rights, from an unprotected local spring after passing through thick forest vegetation where women felt vulnerable and were often bitten by snakes attracted to the surrounding palm oil trees. Today, thanks to Oxfam, and our local partners Hyfro, Mambingi has some 16 water points spread throughout the village managed proudly by local committees. Importantly, the water is clean and safe reducing the risk of spread of preventable diseases such as cholera and dysentery which regularly plague communities forced to drink whatever water may flow nearby. Victorine laughs at me when we ask how long she now has to travel get to get water. Leaning across and stretching out her hand, “no time at all”, she says. “It is right beside us”.
Mambingi is just one of 12 villages in the region which this year have benefitted from new water distribution systems with the support of Oxfam. In the process, community members have learned the skills to build and care for not only these new facilities but also 577 newly constructed latrines which ensure the safe disposal of human waste without infection of local water sources. Critically, such new skills ensure community well-being not only now but their capacity and independence in doing so well into the future.
Unfortunately, not all Communities in DRC are so fortunate. Twenty years of conflict in the DRC have claimed the lives of millions, and resulted in repeated mass movements of people within the country and across its borders. The conflict, a product of complex international, national, local, ethnic, tribal interests frequently related to competition for the country’s particular mineral wealth, has undermined growth and development. In turn, this has created a fragile political, social and economic context where most fail to benefit from the country’s rich natural resources and where the reach of state services such as water, health and agriculture is limited if present at all.
Not long after as we prepare to leave the region, word reaches us that still more fighting has broken out and that tens of thousands of people only a few hours drive away have been forced to flee across the border to Uganda. Yet another tragic event in the history of DRC where life, like the water that sustains it, remains as precious as ever.
ORBIS has worked in Ethiopia for over 14 years to implement a model for comprehensive rural eye care focusing on capacity building, health care technology development and advocacy to address critical gaps in eye care.
Since 2011 ESCRS has supported ORBIS to develop a Paediatric Eye-Care Centre in Gondar Hospital. ESCRS funds have gone towards training resident ophthalmologists in sub-specialties such as Paediatric Cataract and Glaucoma in order to be able to treat a wide range of paediatric eye conditions.
The latest installment of this training took place in October 2012 when ORBIS conducted a week long Hospital-Based Program in Gondar. In the video you can see ORBIS Volunteer and Paediatric Ophthalmologist Dr Donny Suh give hands-on training to Dr Mulusew, the Head of the Paediatric Eye Care Unit at Gondar. This type of training is only possible thanks to the support of ESCRS.
ESCRS is contributing funds to an ORBIS project to establishment a paediatric eye care unit in Gondar University Hospital in Northern Ethiopia. The contribution is helping to fund the training of Dr. Mulusew Asferaw and Dr. Asamere Tsegaw in the sub specialties of paediatrics and retina.
ESCRS is delighted to announce that the Society is funding both doctors to attend the XXX Congress of the ESCRS in Milan in September. Dr. Yared Assefa, the head of department, has also been invited to attend the Congress.
The doctors have expressed their sincere gratitude for this support and feel that the experience will have a profound effect on their professional development and quality of care they provide to their patients.
The ORBIS/Oxfam booth in Milan will be located in the connecting walkway between the North and South Wing on Level 2.
Please come and chat with us, we would love to answer any questions you might have.
The president of the ESCRS, Peter Barry, has pledged to continue the society’s support for the two fundraising projects. “Charitable initiatives are very important for the society and our support of Oxfam and ORBIS has been very rewarding,” said Dr. Barry. “I am delighted to announce our continuing support for the ORBIS and Oxfam projects for a further two years”.
A total of €33,500 was donated to the two charities in 2011. Funds were initially raised from delegates when registering for the 15th ESCRS Winter Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey and the XXIX ESCRS Congress in Vienna, Austria. Additional funds were raised from a raffle at the Vienna Congress. The ESCRS Board also pledged to donate an additional €25,000 from the society’s funds. The amount donated to each charity in 2011 was €16,750 and new activities are already being planned for 2012.
With the money raised by the ESCRS, Dr. Mulusew Asferaw (see left) was selected for training on 'Paediatric Ophthalmology' at CCBRT in Tanzania,
which started in December 2011.
Dr. Asamere Tsegaw was selected for training in 'Retina', starting his
training in Canada last December also.
During this 13-month Public Health project in Kitgum and Lamwo Districts, Oxfam has continued to strengthen the services provided by local government and build the self-reliance of households who returned to their villages after the two-decade conflict ended. There is still a significant amount of work to do, but the region feels to be truly in a development, rather than a humanitarian or recovery, context.
Individual achievements include:
Support to the District Water Officers to assess, train and certify a cadre of Hand Pump Mechanics (150 in total with 18% women) to ensure communities have access to prompt, reliable and affordable maintenance and repair services;
Fully equipping a District Water Quality Laboratory, including a motorcycle so that samples can be taken and analysed from water sources throughout the District;
Conversion and handover to sub-county authorities of five water supply systems in the former camps. Participatory decisions were based on consumer demand for water, their ability to pay and local government’s ability to operate and maintain the systems. This led to one being retained as a diesel-powered system, two converted to solar power and two converted to hand pumps. Water User Committees were trained and equipped to manage these systems;
Training of 20 key members of the District Disaster Management Committees on the appraisal of vulnerabilities and hazards, the application of appropriate Disaster Risk Reduction methods and the development of comprehensive Contingency plans.
Oxfam is working with District staff, Sub-County staff and communities to consolidate all the achievements of the last four years, since communities are starting returning to their villages of origin. These achievements are being built into an overall Community-Based Water Resource Management system that complies with the national Operation and Maintenance policy and will enable the government and people to take responsibility for their own water and sanitation needs and performance in the future.