SAHARA Newsletter (Jan 2014) - Page 13

What is a Community Outreach event?


Community eye screenings typically involve a pre-visit from one of our community eye workers (in our case, Roger or Hilaire) to meet with community leaders (chiefs, teachers, pastors, etc). They first assess the community’s attitude towards the project. If the community agrees to partner with the hospital, they plan a date with the community leaders and begin advertising through flyers, radio advertisements, church services, etc.

On the day of the outreach, a team of 2-3 visit the community (1-2 clinicians and 1 logistics coordinator). Generally, 50 patients are needed to attend the screening to make it worth the effort and cost. The trained clinicians will diagnose and treat on site, but if the patient has a complicated issue or requires surgery, they will be referred to the eye unit for further treatment. The team can also dispense simple glasses prescriptions on the outreaches. Outreaches usually occur in local schools, churches, or government health centers. In similar outreaches conducted by Tenwek Hospital, as many as 600 patients have been seen in a single outreach.

A few times a year, the whole eye team will do surgical safari outreaches where they will go to a remote location for one week, screen 1,000-2,000 patients, and then perform 50-100 cataract surgeries on location.