Sight leads to a better life

Written by Admin, published on November 1, 2016 Donate Today
Little Judith with her mother, Ruth, outside Ejura Government Hospital in Ghana.

Ruth and her baby daughter, Judith, moved to Ejura, a town in Ghana’s Ashanti Region, in search of a better life. Little did they know that not all of their troubles could be left behind.

When Judith was about a year old, Ruth noticed that there were white spots in her baby’s eyes. She was concerned for her daughter’s wellbeing, but she couldn’t take Judith to the hospital. Ruth barely had enough money for food, never mind medical bills – and she feared her small medical insurance wouldn’t be enough.

As a single parent, Ruth was already juggling two jobs to try to make ends meet, carrying groceries for customers at the market and working at a local restaurant. If she couldn’t save money for a hospital bill, what would be become of her baby girl?

Later that year, an ophthalmic nurse from Ejura Government Hospital, an Operation Eyesight partner hospital, conducted a free eye screening program in their community. The nurse discovered that poor little Judith couldn’t see due to cataracts in both eyes, a condition she had been born with.

Unfortunately, Ejura Government Hospital doesn’t have the capacity to conduct pediatric surgeries, so Judith was referred to Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) for treatment. KATH is not in partnership with Operation Eyesight; it is located in a city two hours away from Ejura and is one of only two hospitals in Ghana with a pediatric ophthalmologist.

Judith just moments after undergoing cataract surgery at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Ghana.

Sadly, when Ruth brought Judith to KATH, she discovered that her medical insurance wouldn’t cover the full cost of her daughter’s surgery, and she couldn’t afford to pay the difference. Defeated, she took her helpless baby girl home. For two more years, Judith lived in darkness, unable to play with her friends, start school or even see her mother’s face.

Fortunately, Ejura Government Hospital conducted another eye screening in their community. The ophthalmic nurse recognized Judith and was saddened to see that she hadn’t received treatment. Once he was made aware of Ruth’s economic condition, the nurse contacted our team in Ghana and asked us to help ensure Judith received surgery.

Thanks to our reputation and strong connections in Ghana, we were able to make arrangements with the Ophthalmology Department at KATH, and Judith received surgery in April 2016. Even better, her surgery was performed free of charge to her mother, thanks to the generosity of our donors!

After the surgery, Ruth told our staff that she planned to enroll Judith in school so she could receive an education like other girls her age. She said she is most grateful to Operation Eyesight and our donors because, if it were not for us, her daughter might have been needlessly blind for the rest of her life.

Thanks to our donors, Ruth and Judith once again have hope for a brighter future and a better life. Thank you!

You can help more children like Judith by donating to our cataract surgery program. Each $50 gift will provide one cataract surgery and give one person – and their family – hope for a better life. Just think of how many lives you can change!