A Christmas Story
The high spot of 2016 came right at the end of the year.
Dhawal Kumar and his wife Kaisri, both in their 30s, walked into the Laxman Eye Hospital in Muzaffarpur when I was there with paediatric eye surgeon Anamika Tandon.
The couple brought with them five of their eight children. Four were blind from cataract. And so was Dad. Anamika would of course do their surgery. But how were they to manage with all the post-operative drops when only Mum could see… and there were three more children back in the village?
The only solution, said hospital manager Thakur Dharmendra Pd Singh was to keep the entire family at the hospital for a week. The ophthalmic assistants would put in eye drops and the whole family would be housed and fed.
Dhawal and Kaisri could hardly believe their ears (and eyes)!
Here are the family the day after the children had their surgery, photographed on the roof of the bustling city hospital.
Here is Dhawal, watching over the youngest, two year-old Adarsh, just after he came out of the operating theatre.
A total of 35,000 blind adults and 42 children had their sight restored by cataract surgery during 2016 at our partner hospitals working in the districts of Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Seohar, Jamui, Madhepura, Araria, Motihari and Narkatiaganj. And also in the slums of Muzaffarpur and Patna city. Entire areas of rural Bihar are now clear of cataract blindness. In addition thousands more patients were given a high standard of care for numerous other eye conditions in the busy Out Patients Departments at all these hospitals.
Dr. Lucy Mathen