Microscope donation helps Council for Blind

Minerva Healthcare Consulting Company has donated a $10,000 ophthalmic microscope to the Council for the Blind to assist in its fight against blindness.

Lydia Tanyanyiwa
Lydia Tanyanyiwa

The donation will relieve pressure from the 20-year-old microscope currently used by the council in its cataract operations.

The highly technological microscope bought from Australia is among key equipment used in the free cataract operations carried out country-wide by the Council for the Blind in conjunction with other players such as Surgeons from Eyes for Africa.

“The donation is a result of Minerva’s partnership with Surgeons from Eyes for Africa and the Hindu Society, in providing free cataract operations for a number of Zimbabweans in dire need of improved vision.

“As an organisation we are alive to the fact that when a blind person is freed from blindness, it benefits two people since his guide would also be relieved and left in a position to do some other economic activities,” said Minerva managing director, Lydia Takanyiwa.

The donated microscope will be used for the first time at cataract operations scheduled for Rusape General Hospital next month. Some 100 visually impaired individuals will benefit. They will be drawn from across the district, the gender divide and all age groups.

According to Tanyanyiwa, restored sight enables people live normal lives, get a job and provide for their families.

Cataracts common

Appreciating the donation, the administrator with the Council for The Blind, Felicity Matilamanja, said the new microscope came at the right time as her organisation was using an old gadget whose efficiency had depreciated.

Matalimanja said the microscope was the most important equipment for the eye surgeries and naturally they were excited about the donation.

“We would appreciate more donations of equipment from well-wishers as we strive to eliminate blindness from among communities,” Matilamanja said. She appealed for cataract sets which would be used alongside the microscope.

Every year some 800-1,000 people go through cataract surgery at the Outreach Eye Camps across the country. Matilamanja said cataracts were common among people aged above 40. Although the condition could affect people of all ages and children at birth as hereditary.

She urged people to look after their eyes properly. The Council has a continuous awareness programme in this regard and attends to minor cases while the serious are referred to major hospitals.

Players in the fight against blindness in Zimbabwe include Eyes for Africa, Council for the Blind, Sight Savers International, Christofell Blinden Mission, The Lions Club and Rotary.

Zimbabwe has an estimated 125,000 blind people – or approximately one percent of the population, double that figure is visually impaired. Three quarters of the blindness is surgically reversible and preventable.

According to statistics at the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, eye diseases rank among the top five causes of attendance by out-patients nationally. Major causes of blindness are cataract, trauma and glaucoma. Cataract accounts for 40 percent of all incidences of blindness.

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