Fundraising for iCare equipment
During my placement, I spent time getting to know the clinicians and eye staff and the clinical pathways. It was evident how well patients are managed in spite of their advanced presentation and limited resources. I learned far more from the clinical acumen and the way that many advanced conditions were managed by our partner clinicians than I could impart.
What struck me the most was the prevalence and morbidity associated with advanced glaucoma in Sierra Leone. I have seen children and adolescents, as well as fit and healthy adults, presenting on their first ever eye check with severe advanced glaucoma, who are likely to spend the majority of the rest of their lives visually impaired. The impact of this on the rest of their families and communities is huge.
Upon discussion with the Eye Care team, we recognised one thing that could significantly help the department would be to purchase a device to check eye pressure, which is the single most important treatable risk factor for glaucoma. These devices could help ophthalmic nurses and doctors to detect patients at risk of glaucoma early, in order to start treatment early and reduce the associated visual morbidity.
I wanted to fundraise for the fantastic eye department I had been working at. As many of my friends and family know, I often like to participate in the odd sporting event whilst at home, however nothing prepared me for exercising in the heat and humidity and then the rainy season in Sierra Leone. Added to that, the palm oil, sugar and rice I consumed hadn't helped my athleticism or waistline...
So, with all these factors considered, I set myself a huge personal and physical challenge to complete the Makeni 10K Race. Through many generous donations from friends, family, colleagues and kind strangers, we managed to raise £2572! This was enough to purchase the latest iCare device in the UK and transport this to Mr Alhaji Koroma, the Eye Care lead, who received this very gratefully!