GRACE VISION PROGRAMME DURING COVID-19 - UPDATE

Grace Vision has been operating during the pandemic. Following guidelines from the National and Eastern Cape Department of Health with whom we have our MOU, we have been operating in a restricted form. As with all state ophthalmology departments, we have been limited to examining urgent and emergency patients in the Grace Vision premises at the Zithulele hospital and the Canzibe Hospital. The following is how operations have proceeded and facilities utilized:

  • We have been phoning patients who require critical chronic eye medication and dropping it off at their clinics for them to collect and spectacles which were not collected or in production during lockdown. This is being done every week to cover the 26 clinics we serve and repeated to continue each month with chronic medication.
  • Our team has been involved in making and distributing of masks for COVID-19 relief and support for the vulnerable community. In addition, they are helping at the hospital gate for screening and triage.
  • Our accommodation units (normally used for surgeons or theatre sisters) have been utilized by the hospital for isolation of personnel who are COVID positive.
  • Schools in the area have been closed for long periods and then briefly open so we are encouraging any urgent needs to be sent to Grace Vision at the hospital and will screen children at the clinics as we are soon starting with our clinic outreach.
  • As the virus will continue for the foreseeable future, we have re-invented how we will operate safely for our patients and staff. We will shortly start our mobile clinic outreach with very strict safety protocols in place. Following expert advice from various medical specialists, there is a detailed protocol of how we will examine patients and how we will maximize patient and staff safety. Patient numbers will have to be less due to sanitising equipment and examination area after each patient. Extensive PPE for staff and social distancing and masks for patients will be ensured.
  • Cataract surgeries will be on hold for a while longer as we await the go ahead from Department of Health ophthalmology.
  • While COVID-19 has changed the world and the way we can operate, but we are thankful that we can now get back to serving the eye care of poor and vulnerable in our rural area.
  • Grace Vision is very thankful to all funders, both corporate and private for the impact that they have had and will continue to have on the poorest and often neglected rural population. We are dedicated to working tirelessly at serving this need to the best of our ability and in the most effective way in all circumstances.

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Grace Vision Blog

Grace Vision's progress made in Zithulele area clinics

 

Introduction

Since 2012 Grace Vision has been assisting the Zithulele Hospital in providing primary eye care to patients attending the health clinics serving their rural catchment population of 130000. The corona virus has stopped work. This presents an opportunity to review the results achieved. All results relate to the periods ending 31 March of the year.

Initial Intention

The project was aimed at avoidable blindness. A mobile eye clinic, including a qualified Optometrist, visited the existing clinics on a programmed basis. Refractive assistance was provided and cataracts causing blindness were identified for surgery.

Refractive Error Correction

The chart demonstrates how over the years the presence of refractive error has been consistent at around one third of all visitors.

The appropriate corrective spectacles have been successfully provided to around three-quarters of those who need it.

A later development resulted in 48000 school children in the area being screened. Some 3% has needed refractive correction that is diagnosed, prescribed and provided during the mobile clinic visits.

image1

Cataract Blind Surgery

The chart shows how the percentage of visitors presenting with cataracts has declined steadily over the period. The spread of the 750 cataract surgeries shows the same reduction over time.

There is a strong suspicion that the cataract backlog in this small population has been effectively eliminated.

image2

The Additional Cost

Grace Vision is a non-profit NGO that is financed by voluntary donations. Its success for the population in the Zithulele area is the result of cooperation between various government departments and most especially the support provided by the personnel at the state hospitals at Mthatha and Zithulele.

The actual additional cost of topping up the healthcare to include this level of effective primary eye care works out at about R12 per year per member of population.

Conclusion

This is an effective example of what is being done in hidden corners of the world to achieve the goals spelled out by the IAPB.

ARM

Retired Actuary

10 April 2020

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Grace and Dignity

NPC: 1998/18381/08
NPO: 006-142 NPO
PBO: 930 027 945

Operational Address:

Zithulele Mission
Hospital
Zithulele Village
Mqanduli District 5080
Eastern Cape
South Africa

Physical Address:

4 Kendal Mews
134 Main Rd, Diep River
Cape Town
7800

Mailing Address:

PO Box 290
Plumstead 7801
Cape Town
South Africa

GRACE VISION PROGRAMME DURING COVID-19 - UPDATE

Grace Vision has been operating during the pandemic. Following guidelines from the National and Eastern Cape Department of Health with whom we have our MOU, we have been operating in a restricted form. As with all state ophthalmology departments, we have been limited to examining urgent and emergency patients in the Grace Vision premises at the Zithulele hospital and the Canzibe Hospital. The following is how operations have proceeded and facilities utilized:

  • We have been phoning patients who require critical chronic eye medication and dropping it off at their clinics for them to collect and spectacles which were not collected or in production during lockdown. This is being done every week to cover the 26 clinics we serve and repeated to continue each month with chronic medication.
  • Our team has been involved in making and distributing of masks for COVID-19 relief and support for the vulnerable community. In addition, they are helping at the hospital gate for screening and triage.
  • Our accommodation units (normally used for surgeons or theatre sisters) have been utilized by the hospital for isolation of personnel who are COVID positive.
  • Schools in the area have been closed for long periods and then briefly open so we are encouraging any urgent needs to be sent to Grace Vision at the hospital and will screen children at the clinics as we are soon starting with our clinic outreach.
  • As the virus will continue for the foreseeable future, we have re-invented how we will operate safely for our patients and staff. We will shortly start our mobile clinic outreach with very strict safety protocols in place. Following expert advice from various medical specialists, there is a detailed protocol of how we will examine patients and how we will maximize patient and staff safety. Patient numbers will have to be less due to sanitising equipment and examination area after each patient. Extensive PPE for staff and social distancing and masks for patients will be ensured.
  • Cataract surgeries will be on hold for a while longer as we await the go ahead from Department of Health ophthalmology.
  • While COVID-19 has changed the world and the way we can operate, but we are thankful that we can now get back to serving the eye care of poor and vulnerable in our rural area.
  • Grace Vision is very thankful to all funders, both corporate and private for the impact that they have had and will continue to have on the poorest and often neglected rural population. We are dedicated to working tirelessly at serving this need to the best of our ability and in the most effective way in all circumstances.

Please close the box by pressing the x at the top or just click outside the box to continue to website

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