Despite incredibly busy work schedules, some of our Consultants somehow manage to fit additional pro-bono charity work into their lives. Mr Hooman Sherafat one of our Consultant Ophthalmologists is just one such Consultant.
"Most years I like to travel abroad and offer my services in places where there are desperate cases requiring life-changing cataract operations. My last trip was to the Mustafiz Glaucoma Research and Eye Hospital, a charity eye hospital project of Bangladesh Eye Care Society (BECS) based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of the highest disease burdened countries in the world for ocular morbidity, with tremendously low cataract surgery rates per million population per year. It is estimated that the prevalence of blindness in Bangladesh is 1.53% among the population aged 30 years and older. It is much more among those 50 years and over. Cataracts are responsible for 80% of blindness, making it the leading cause of blindness. Every year 150,000 new cataract cases are added to the current backlog. The current cataract surgery coverage meets only one third of the total needs of the country.
The patients we saw were largely gathered from the poor areas of Bangladesh and had severe visual impairment. A total of 135 operations were carried out in the six days by the team, of which I carried out 65 cataract operations.
I am extremely grateful to be able to assist in such situations. The impact of blindness at an individual level is extremely serious. If someone is unable to work, they may not be able to support themselves or contribute to their family’s economic situation and this can have dire consequences."
The surgeries were sponsored by the Global Aid Trust and were completely free for the patients. All the surgeons carrying out the operations provide their services for free and pay for their own travel and accommodation.