May 31, 2012 (Jiajian) The Blindness Prevention Program is an government organized outreach program to extend cataract surgery to remote areas of Sichuan and the SPPH hospital houses the Provincial BPO office. It is coordinated by Mrs. Zhang, a wonderful, gentle, knowledgeable woman who has a passion for the underprivileged and is instrumental to the program's success. The concept is to have ophthalmic teams go out and screen large populations of patients for eye disease and offer them treatment as needed. More than half the blindness in Sichuan is due to cataract, so it is no wonder that we see a lot. Additionally, surgeons go out to do the cataract surgery at the same time screenings are going on - either using a local facility or operating in a mobile van unit.
Today we spent our time in Jiajian - considered a town. This community had a fair sized hospital and we based our activity there. We left the hotel early in the morning and made the two hour drive to the town through lush rural countryside. Arriving in the town, we were met with a large group of patients that had been organized and given sequence numbers, so even
though there were 150 patients to be seen, everything was relatively well organized and sequenced. We worked outdoors in the hospital courtyard and set up a long row of desks under the ubiquitous banner announcing us...the only recognizable part is the "DMEI" lettering not written in Chinese characters.
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