Doctor to Doctor
Reducing Avoidable Blindness for our near neighbours in Papua New Guinea…
To my fellow Ophthalmologists in New Zealand,
Thank you for your interest in helping to reducing avoidable blindness in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
In my role as Senior Ophthalmology Lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea, and also as an Ophthalmologist trained through support from cbm New Zealand (Christian Blind Mission), it is heartwarming to know there are colleagues like you who are willing to help make a generous contribution to help transform eye health service for the people of PNG.
With a population of almost 9 million, PNG is the largest and most populous nation in the Pacific. With almost 90% of the population living in rural and often mountainous areas, this severely limits their access to specialist health practitioners. With this challenge we also only have 14 Ophthalmologists when we need more than 80. As a result, sadly, many children and adults in PNG end up living with untreated avoidable blindness.
I, along with my surgical team and supported by cbm New Zealand, are doing what we can to reach these rural Highland communities and provide the necessary eye health services.
But the need is great and I could really do with your help.
Along with Dr Bedggood (Paediatric Ophthalmologist in Christchurch), I would like to extend you the opportunity to join us in a three year strategic alliance, with cbm New Zealand. Together we would help reduce the level of avoidable blindness that exists here. Your generosity and expertise are what is needed to deliver more vital eye health services.
The needs now in PNG are:
- Increasing the number of surgical outreach clinics to locations without eye doctors. This will also provide more exposure training for doctors.
- Providing screening checks for eye health
- Supplying glasses and vision devices to those needing them.
- Supporting the training of GPs to become Registrars and Ophthalmologists.
Could you please consider:
- A short term locum visit to support me and my team with surgical support and technical expertise in the areas above.
- Supporting cbm to help ensure more children and adults receive the necessary eye health services they deserve. Giving them renewed hope for the future.
Any financial support you give via cbm New Zealand will be multiplied x5 by the New Zealand Government Aid Programme. To send your generous gift today you can click on the donate button below.
I also encourage you to talk with Murray Sheard, CEO, cbm New Zealand to discuss the best way you can support this vital programme. You can phone him on 022 675 0942 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
With appreciation and thanks,
Dr Jambi Garap MBBS, MMED (Ophthal)
cbm Surgical Outreach Team, PNG
A word of support from Dr Antony Bedggood
I know I’m not alone in wanting to make a difference in Aotearoa and in the world – the best part of our job is the satisfaction of helping people to see. So make your Mahi and your money go a long way by joining me in supporting the awesome eye work that has been established by cbm. It’s a well-established initiative led by colleagues who are themselves from PNG, and who we can team with to have a profound impact. So let’s join together with our Pacific neighbours and help cbm bring light and empowerment to people who are visually impaired.
Dr Antony Bedggood MBChB, FRANZCO
Eye Specialist & Children’s Eye Surgeon
Family Eye Centre, Christchurch, 03 595 1360
Please join Dr Garap and Dr Bedggood by contacting Murray Sheard, CEO, cbm New Zealand to discuss the best way you can support this vital programme.
You can phone Murray on 022 675 0942 or email him at email@example.com to find out how you can be part of this vital three year project – to help reduce avoidable blindness for children and adults in the remote Highlands of PNG.
If you would like to send a gift now to support the programme, please click on the ‘Donate Now’ button below.
cbm Project Information: Inclusive Eye Health Programme, Papua New Guinea
cbm Implementing Partner: Goroka Eye Clinic, Callan Network Inclusive Education Resource Centres (IERCs).
Financial Information: This is a $1,562,000 inclusive development programme, in partnership with the New Zealand Government. With your support, cbm needs to raise $312,500 to which the New Zealand Government will add $1,250,000.
Background: PNG has the highest prevalence of preventative blindness in the Pacific and one of the highest worldwide. People living in the remote Highlands area where cbm works are most at risk due to lack of accessible eye health services. Yet most preventative blindness is easy, and relatively cost-effective, to treat. Blindness is often met with suspicion in PNG with many people who are blind becoming stigmatised or victims of human rights abuse. Isolation is commonplace.
Around 90% of children with moderate to severe disabilities in PNG are not attending school. Lack of accessible transport, premises, textbooks and school supplies, contribute to challenges for the children seeking to gain an education. Many also miss out on accessing disability-specific services that are available to them.
For these reasons children and adults with disabilities in PNG are often among the poorest, and are dependent on others for support.
cbm New Zealand has been operating in PNG for more than 40 years, transforming lives and giving hope for the future. In that time, trusted relationships have been established with field partners, Goroka Eye Clinic, Provincial Health Authorities and the Callan Network Inclusive Education Resource Centres (IERCs). The National Dept of Education – Inclusive Education Division and The University of PNG – Ophthalmology studies.
These valued partnerships help cbm provide children and adults, living in remote communities, with much needed cataract surgeries, improved opportunities for education and economic activity.
This Eye Health programme will reach out to support children and adults living with disabilities in the remote Eastern Highlands and East New Britain. (Building on the 2019-2021 programme). The programme aims to deliver:
- Cataract surgical outreach clinics to locations without eye doctors.
- Surgical exposure training for doctors and ophthalmology students at the outreach clinics. (Extending the number of national staff with refractive and optometry skills).
- Screening checks for eye health and for preventable disabilities. (With specialist referrals where necessary).
- Glasses and vision devices to those needing them.
- Upgrade of necessary equipment at the Edmund Rice Eye Clinic in Goroka.
The Inclusive Education and Rehabilitation Programme runs alongside this programme to deliver:
- Children and adults with necessary rehabilitation plans and assistive technology (walking frames, wheelchairs, crutches, white canes, etc).
- Ongoing teacher training and resourcing of schools so they can confidently provide inclusive education for children with disabilities in a safe, accessible and welcoming environment.
- Ongoing transcribing of national school curriculum materials into braille.
- Braille typewriters and special computers for use by pupils with low vision.
- Improved early childhood education and early intervention for those with disabilities (aged 0-6).
This a vital project for the people of PNG, working in partnership with the NZ Government and local PNG health and education providers. The aim, with support from generous people like you, is to raise $312,000, to which the NZ Government will contribute $1,250,000.
As a fellow Ophthalmologist, Dr Garap, Dr Bedggood, and cbm would like to invite you to join a special group of professional supporters, to partner with cbm to deliver vital cataract surgeries and other essential eye health care to children and adults.
We are currently looking for supporters who could commit at the following levels: $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000+ / year, or an amount of your choosing.
Please would you prayerfully considering partnering with cbm, for between one and four years? There will be an opportunity to review your support after each year.
Your gifts will be matched by the NZ Government x5 to ensure maximum impact. ie $2,500 gift will have $10,000 added. $5,000 gift will have $20,000 added.
There is flexibility around payment option and all gifts will be tax deductible. Thank you for your consideration.
Restoring Families in Papua New Guinea. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Matthew 22:39
Blindness had crushed Jack’s spirit
Losing his sight was devastating for Jack, as everything he did – to stay safe, earn a living and support his family – all depended on his sight. He was unable to leave the house without being led and no longer wanted to be with other people. He lost all hope.
Through the generosity of others, it was possible for Jack to undergo sight-saving cataract surgery for his sight to be restored, although he was very concerned it would not work.
But the surgery was a success and, after the bandages were removed, his sight was restored.
Relief and joy flooded his face. From that moment, Jack was a completely different man and he can again live his life to the full!
“Having my vision restored is the greatest gift I could ever receive.”
Cecilia’s future is now so much brighter
As a baby Cecilia was diagnosed with bilateral congenital cataracts, and thanks to generous people like you, she was able to receive her first operation at just 6-months-old, removing the cloudy film from her eyes.
Too young to have the intraocular lens (IOL) inserted, she was prescribed powerful +13 glasses to wear.
Now aged 3, and having received her second sight-saving operation, she has a brighter future in front of her.
Children who are blind in poor communities like Cecilia’s are far more likely to get sick, have an accident, be exploited or abandoned, and often die young.
Cecilia’s mother, Doreen, gives her heartfelt thanks for her daughters new sight.
cbm Project Information: Prevention and Treatment of Obstetric Fistula in Nigeria
cbm-funded Partner: Evangel VVF Centre (ECWA) & The Survive Fistula Healthcare Foundation (SFHF).
Background: In Nigeria, at least 150,000 women suffer from obstetric fistula, accounting for approximately 40% of the incidence worldwide. 13,000 new cases develop every year – the highest of any country globally – largely due to lack of medical care during labour. Trained health personnel only see about 65% of deliveries. After developing obstetric fistula, women have no control of the bladder and in severe cases, the bowel. Due to leakage and the smell, women usually become isolated, stigmatised, divorced and severed of all means of livelihood.
Despite banning marriage of girls below 18 years of age since 2008, child marriage remains common in Northern Nigeria with 39% of girls estimated to be married before age 15 and as early as 12 years of age. While attitudes to child marriage are changing, progress is very slow.
Globally, for every woman who receives treatment, at least 50 women go without, leaving them to suffer years of pain, rejection and isolation.
The overall goal of this project is to improve access to sexual and reproductive health for women including those with disabilities. The project aims to:
Increase the number of women who have access to quality affordable reproductive health services and obstetric fistula prevention and repair;
- Improve the capacity of cbm-funded partner hospitals and other health facilities to screen, prevent and treat obstetric fistula;
- Increase awareness and educate women, including those with disabilities, about maternal health and how to prevent obstetric fistula; and
- Increase cbm-funded partners’ capacity to reach women with disabilities.
cbm New Zealand invites you to prayerfully consider investing in the following areas. If you wish to contribute a different amount to the ones suggested below, we would be delighted to discuss this with you.
How you can help:
Improve the capacity of cbm-funded partner hospitals and other health facilities to screen, prevent and treat obstetric fistula.
Your gift of $20,000 p.a. will help improve the capacity of cbm-funded partner hospitals and other health facilities to screen, prevent and treat obstetric fistula.
- Supporting obstetric fistula outreach clinics for raising awareness on reproductive health, targeting 100 women per clinic.
- Community health workers will be trained to identify high-risk pregnancies and refer women with obstetric fistula.
- Midwives, nurses and doctors will be trained on how to prevent fistula.
- Selected health personnel will receive practical training and mentoring on simple fistula surgery. Each team will include a doctor, ward nurse, perioperative nurse and nurse anaesthetist.
- Provide Healthcare centres with antenatal and obstetric care.
- After receiving surgery, women will be provided with a counselling programme to boost confidence and address any psychological needs, and linked with support groups.
Your gift of $10,000 p.a. will help increase awareness amongst women , including those with disabilities, about maternal and child health, and obstetric fistula prevention in collaboration with local women’s groups.
- Churches, schools and community groups will be educated on how to prevent obstetric fistula.
- Awareness campaigns for prevention of obstetric fistula and referral mechanism will be developed and run on local radio, TV, social media and in newspapers.
Your gift of $5,000 p.a. will help promote disability inclusion by providing resources and assistive devices for women and girls with disabilities being treated in cbm-funded partner hospitals.
- Resources and assistive devices including hand-operated tricycles, walkers and crutches, will be provided to disabled women to enable them to access outreach clinics at cbm-funded partner hospitals.
We are seeking partners at each of these levels and would welcome your generous support.
Restoring hope and dignity. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…” – Matthew 11:28
Olubunmi’s Gift from GodOlubunmi’s name means “Gift of God”, and as her name suggests, she is a faithful woman. But at 60 years old, she has been uncontrollably leaking urine for nearly half her life! When Olubunmi was 33 she gave birth to her youngest child, a much loved baby boy. For the first ten days, everything seemed fine, but then she started leaking urine… and she has never been dry since. For fear of leaking urine because of her fistula, Olubunmi has lived half her life in heart-breaking shame. She is mortified if anyone catches a whiff of her condition, but she knows she cannot hide the smell for long, no matter how tightly she wraps herself. She has spent all she has, trying to find treatment. Year after year she has not found help. Despite all she did to manage this debilitating health condition, nothing could ever stop the leaking… except specialist surgery. With generous support from people like you, the cbm-funded Survive Fistula Healthcare Foundation (SFHF) help many mothers to be set free from obstetric fistula. Their dedicated staff are always searching for precious mothers like Olubunmi by conducting awareness campaigns. This time, they found Olubunmi! “I was very excited, very glad,” she said. “I’ve been praying about this and I knew one day God would help!”
Halimat is so very grateful
Halimat is 44 years old and a mother to four children. Like Olubunmi, she lives in Lagos State where she works for the State Government.
But each day as Halimat prepares to head to work she must take extra time to put on diapers and use plenty of strong perfume to mask the stench of urine. Urine that has been leaking uncontrollably since she had an emergency caesarian section after prolonged labour during her last childbirth in 2014. Some seven years ago.
In 2015 she welcomed surgery to repair the fistula, but sadly that failed.
Halimat’s suffering with low self-esteem continued. She could not socialize with friends for risk of being found out.
Then early this year Halimat heard about the cbm-funded partner in Nigeria, Survive Fistula Health Foundation (SFHF), generously supported by people like you.
They arranged for Halimat to travel to a hospital where she was warmly welcomed by the staff. Here was the place she would finally have surgery to repair the fistula, because of people like you.
Halimat’s fistula surgery was successful. She was happy beyond words. Finally, after seven long years, she is free at last.
“I am very grateful to God, SFHF and cbm. They have done a great work and it’s only God that can reward them.”
Our team would love to hear from you