The Gift of Sight: Opthalmology Expedition

We are grateful to our partners at Utah Valley Eye Center for teaming with the Alliance to bring sight to the people of Mali. Our local Malian staff works closely with the Ouelessebougou hospital and government to foster strong relationships and facilitate medical expeditions. As one of the few international NGO’s still providing health services in the region, the Alliance and our partners are able to offer free specialized healthcare to individuals in southern Mali. Under the leadership of Mike Clayton, volunteers from Utah County traveled to Ouelessebougou during Thanksgiving week. The ophthalmology group included professionals from Utah Valley Eye CenterExcel Eye Center, and their support team of medical staff, family and community.

Most Malians cannot afford a visit to the eye doctor so they live with poor or debilitating eyesight. Hundreds of individuals of all ages waited for hours — even days — to receive free eye care at the Ouelessebougou hospital from the “Utah Alliance doctors”. The Utah team worked side-by-side in partnership with local opthalmologist Dr. Malli and his staff. Together, they were able to provide life-saving treatments and eye care for nearly 1,500 patients during the week. Here are some of the amazing results of their work:

  • 3 cornea transplants
  • 92 cataract surgeries
  • 43 laster treatments (Didoe Laser Glaucoma, ALT & YAG)
  • 5 Ptyergium surgeries
  • 4 secondary IOL treatments
  • 384 prescription eye glasses distributed (and 214 ordered!)
  • 126 reading glasses distributed

Her Future is Bright

Magnana Diabete, a twelve year-old from Ouelessebougou, and her mother arrived at the hospital at 4 a.m. to wait in line for free eye screenings by the ophthalmology team. Magnana was struggling with her eyesight and falling behind in school. She received new prescription eyeglasses and will now be able to see the chalkboard. Her mother said, “I am grateful to the Utah Alliance and the doctors. These glasses will be a blessing for my daughter.”

Volunteers also visited the Alliance’s partner villages of Fadioubougou, Bamakoni and Dialakoro Keleya. Our resident Health Agents facilitated eye screenings for the villagers and the opthalmology team provided eyeglasses and referred serious cases for treatment at the hospital. They provided dental hygiene and newborn baby kits to the villagers and visited the Alliance schools to distribute education kits and soccer balls.

THANK YOU to the wonderful doctors, staff, volunteers and donors who made the expedition a great success!