Relief for cataract patients

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Limpho Sello

CATARACT patients have been afforded a relief after two Egyptian doctors jetted into the country this week to treat at least 120 patients from all over the country at Mafeteng Hospital.

The two doctors are expected to be in the country until Saturday having started their tour on Monday.

The specialists will treat the patients for free while those who require cataract removal will be required to pay M50 instead of the usual M150.

A cataract is a clouding natural lens of the eye, which lies behind the iris and the pupil leading to a decrease in vision. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss and is the principal cause of blindness in the world.

Cataracts can affect one or both eyes and often develop gradually. The symptoms include, reduced night vision, blurry vision, faded colours, impressions around light and irritation from bright lights.

The specialists who are part of the Arab Medical Union have worked in many African countries although this is their first tour to the Southern Africa region with Lesotho being the first to receive the union’s voluntary services.

The Deputy Minister of Health, ‘Manthabiseng Phohleli, told the media on Monday that although the specialist will be in the country until Saturday, they are also expected to return on call.

Ms Phohleli urged cataract patients to utilise the opportunity to seek treatment. She however, emphasised that although the services will only be provided in Mafeteng, they all affected people from around the country are eligible for treatment.

“It should however, be clear that the services are only for with people with cataracts and not all the other eye problems,” Ms Phohleli said.

“Patients will be checked and those who need surgery or any other treatment it will be done.”

Ms Phohleli expressed gratitude to the Egyptian specialists for choosing Lesotho, a country which has struggled with treatment of cataracts. The service was previously offered at Mapoteng Hospital until the institution unceremoniously stopped leaving patients in limbo.

She said although the Egyptian doctors are expected to leave the country on Monday, the ministry is also expecting another team of doctors from Boston, United States on the same day. The US team is expected to be in the country for another seven days at Motebang Hospital in Leribe.

“The US team has been here before so this is one of their routine visits. specialists from Boston are not first timers so this in one of their routine visits. Hopefully the practice will also be emulated by the Egyptians,” Ms Phohleli said.

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