"Eye care in South Sudan is very important because it's inaccessible by many and scarce on availability... I am able to help other people who have eye problems now, and l am working in eye care and that is credited to HCP."
With support from the Arizona Community Foundation and empowerkidsSouthSudan, the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP) recently returned to South Sudan to continue the work that we began in 2008. Our interest and efforts in the region began in part when we sent two young men, Johnny Deng and Auguer Awan from Duk County, to Nepal for ophthalmic technician training at what is now known as the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. In Nepal, Johnny and Auguer were trained to identify and treat common eye conditions and problems, in hopes that they could serve in that capacity in their native South Sudan.
One of the highlights of our recent outreach in Old Fangak and Juba, South Sudan, where over 2,000 people were screened and over 800 sight-restoring surgeries were provided, was reconnecting with Johnny Deng. Not only had he survived the civil war and unrest of the past decade, but he was also working in eye care and was able to join and support the team. He traveled to Old Fangak in the north for the first outreach, and then helped support the work at his current place of employment in Juba at the Buluk Eye Clinic.
Training local providers has always been central to the work of HCP. Our training and education efforts hinge on maximizing the capacity of eye care staff at all levels. This allows for the expansion of efficient eye care delivery, an increased number of patients treated, and an increased number of trained eye care specialists who can then train future eye care providers. Johnny and the training he received is a representation of this organizational principle and the success of the HCP training model.
Read Johnny’s words on the profound effect of HCP and his training on eye care in South Sudan:
“It's my pleasure to have been with the Himalayan Cataract Project team. Himalayan Cataract Project are my mentors, and made me who I am. They made me understand questions I had been asking myself but couldn't find answers on whether blindness is a curse of wrongdoing. I am able to help other people who have eye problems now, and l am working in eye care and that is credited to HCP.
Eye care in South Sudan is very important because it's inaccessible by many and scarce on availability. Additionally, the eye care providers are few compared to the care recipients and cultural beliefs and norms are dominant on eye care awareness. Having mentioned a few of the above issues, we thank the HCP family for the great work.”