A HOSPITAL consultant will be heading out to the Amazon jungle later this year to help impoverished locals with eye diseases.
Pieter Gouws, one of the Conquest’s consultant ophthalmologists, worked with the Andean Medical Mission (AMM) last year so this year’s upcoming visit to Bolivia in June will be his second one.
He, together with other colleagues, are heading to the remote Beni district in the north east part of the country. The AMM was set up by David Goldsmith with advice from various ophthalmologists including Mr Gouws. The aim is to provide treatment for blinding eye conditions and to train local ophthalmologists to improve the eye care offered throughout the country.
Mr Gouws said: “When we arrived there last year there were hundreds of people waiting for us as they had never seen ophthalmologists before in their lives. We operated on more than 150 people, treating blinding eye conditions. Villagers work on the cocoa and sugar cane plantations all day in the heat and dusty conditions, which leads to many cases of severe blinding pterygium (a growth on the eye) in young people.”
Sharon Forward, his colleague at the Conquest’s eye department, is organising a three-legged race in aid of the AMM next Sunday (March 17), which starts outside the Richard Ticehurst unit in the hospital grounds at 1pm. There will be live music from Chris Hutchinson at the Conquest Social Club, as well as stalls, refreshments and Indian food.
Those wanting to take part should ring Sharon at the Conquest on 01424 755255 and ask for extension 6203. Participants need to meet outside the Richard Ticehurst unit at 12.30pm. For more information about the AMM log onto www.andeanmedicalmission.co.uk.