Patrica Mwase, the GCS partner for Malawi, and the president of the local Lions club, shares the following story with us.
There was pomp of excitement among Lions, parents as well as other patrons after it was learnt that five children from Phalombe who were blind had regained their sight after they underwent successful eye operation at Lions Sight First-Eye Hospital in Blantyre on November 10, 2010.
Two of the children were born totally blind and after the successful operation, that was their first time to see the sun while the other three became blind after birth due to various eye infections.
The good news for the children to regain their sight has come following the Lions Club of Limbe’s project to save sight for the underprivileged children.
During the function, Limbe Lions Club President, Patricia Mwase, the club did a research and discovered that there is a large population of children in remote areas who have various eye problems but they fail to get treatment due to various reasons.
“We discovered that a lot of children lose their sight not because they can not see again but mainly because their parents do not bring them to hospital because of among other things, lack of transport since they stay far away from Blantyre as well as lack of civic education,” explained Mwase.
She went on to say that Limbe Lions Club will continue with the project of screening children in the districts so that if some are discovered that they can regain their sight, they should be brought at Lions Sight First Hospital for specialists to operate on them.
Mwase therefore acknowledged efforts by Dr. Khumbo Kalua who did a research and found out Phalombe to be one of the districts with a large population of blind children.
“I want to thank Dr. Kalua who discovered Phalombe as a district with a high population of blind children and with this discovery we decided to start this project in this district,” said Mwase.
She went on to urge Lions across the nation as well as the general public to bring in more children who have got eye infections to the hospital to receive treatment in order to save their sight.
According to the Limbe Lions Club President, out of over 600 children who were screened in Phalombe some few weeks ago, 256 were found blind; a development she said is worrisome because they were just being kept without getting any sort of treatment.
Dr Gerald Msukwa who did the eye operation on the children concurred with Mwase stressing that many blind children are failing to regain their sight because they are denied access to go to hospital because their parents are underprivileged.
“One blind kid is equal to many kids, one year of blindness is equal to 40 years or more in terms of development and social activities, therefore there is a need to bring children here for treatment,” said Msukwa who also happens to be a Lion himself.
Msukwa also said other children are blind not because they can not regain their sight but because they are not treated on time after their eye problems have been discovered giving out an example of an eight year old Gift Mose whose brain failed to respond after undergoing an operation because he went to the hospital late.
The Project Director and immediate past President of Limbe Lions Club John Kachitsa said the five children who were treated were the only ones who were discovered that they could regain their sight after they were screened.
He added that the club provided glasses to other children that needed adding that they also provided creams and glasses to albinos.
Kachitsa also said the Lions Club of Limbe in conjunction with other Lions Clubs are now targeting districts like Chikwawa, Mwanza and the Central Region to carry out the same project.
Kachitsa asked people in the country to join the club and assist the underprivileged.
Among the children who were operated were a 14 year old boy Macknight Thom, a 10 year old Chikondi Nyalugwe, 8 year old Gift Mose and a 13 year old Estere Muliya.
The children themselves could not believe their eyes as they are now able to see.
In separate interviews, the children expressed gratitude to the Lions Club of Limbe for its kind gesture as they are now able to see adding that they will concentrate on their education to become productive future citizens.
Limbe Lions Club also donated assorted items to the children and their parents that included Squash, Sugar and Soap.
The function was graced by among others, President for Blantyre Lions Club Vickesh Vanzara, past President of Mangochi Khumbo Chirwa as well as other Lion members of Blantyre.