WHEN CCBRT Chief Executive Officer Brenda Msangi addressed hundreds of listeners at the Kilwa Road Police Hospital in Dar es Salaam on Monday she told her listeners that their institution will not relent on eye health care provision, rather CCBRT will provide eye health care with innovations. Eye health care remains one of CCBRT’s priorities, she explained.
That pledge, in a way, promises Tanzanians fresh impetus to preventing, or at least averting, blindness to millions of Tanzanians who will come forward for eye screening and treatment during this camp and future similar camps.
The CEO was speaking at the launch of a special threeday free eye screening exercise that is undertaken jointly by the Comprehensive Community-Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) and the Dar es Salaam-based Police Kilwa Road Hospital.
The launch was officiated at by the Temeke District Commissioner, Ms Jokate Mwegelo, who praised the two institutions for offering free screening and treatment of eyes in the designated three days.
The effort, she said, is in line with the National Strategic Eye Saving Plan (2018- 2022), the commissioner said.
The Kilwa Road exercise was a curtain raiser for festivities to mark the International Day of the Health of the Eye, marked this year on October 14. In Tanzania the day will be marked tomorrow (Thursday).
The CCBRT and the Police hospital wanted to use the occasion to awaken Tanzanians living in and around Dar es Salaam from slumber and take eye health care seriously.
CCBRT and the police hospital are partners in fighting eye diseases and blindness. The launched was told that the partnership between the two institutions, in one year alone, has helped 300 eye patients.
If many Dar es Salaam residents will visit the eye camp at the hospital along Kilwa Road, it may result into having thousands eye patients being helped in three days, or in a week! The appeal by Ms Msangi and echoed by the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police Mabula Kawala, was a modest plea to Tanzanians that seeks to save their eyes, lessen or stop altogether suffering as a result of varied eye ailments.
The mass media has to join this effort and send the message to Dar es Salaam residents in form of a brief awareness campaign. In doing so the mass media will have justified their usefulness.
Small children with eye problems who need and deserve expert attention in the three days cannot take themselves to the camp. Only informed and willing parents or older siblings can take these children to the camp and save them from suffering and optical inconveniences.
This modest awareness campaign can help these innocents visit the camp along the Kilwa Road. The fare to the police hospital is small or at least reasonable from any point in Dar es Salaam.
The amount of money spent on the visit is certainly negligible when compared to benefits visitors will get by exposing their problems to eye experts. The cooperation on eye health care between the CCBRT and the police was described by Mr Kawala as having been successful cooperation.
Real success hinges on the amount of benefits Tanzanians get in reduced suffering. And by the way, to those who may not be aware, CCBRT is an NGO. It is a good example of what a serious NGO can do to society.
An English dictionary explains the word ophthalmology as a scientific study of the eye and its diseases. CCBRT has a strong ophthalmology department where, according the CCBRT’s website, thousands of patients get consultations and surgeries annually.
“Our expert ophthalmologists who have decades of experience, work together with our team of nurses, optometrists and eye care professionals to provide you with the efficient and comprehensive service you deserve,” the website says.
People who will visit the Kilwa Road camp are likely to have less or no problems in securing lenses at reasonable prices, because the CCBRT has what it calls its optical shop.
“Our on-site optical shop can provide you with designer frames and lenses immediately after prescription. Adjustment, repairs and changes to your glasses are also available in the shop. We are continuously updating our stock with the latest brands so feel free to come in and check it out,” the website says.
The mass media can help the word on Kilwa Road eye camp reach households. If many Dar es Salaam residents will visit the camp then the camp will be successful and something will have been done on reducing suffering, preventing and averting blindness.
Things succeed by doing right things! Visiting or encouraging other people to visit the camp to get free eye screening is doing one of those right things Tanzanians can afford to do.
●The writer is a professional journalist working as a Media Consultant and Researcher based in Dar es Salaam.
He can be reached at email@example.com or +255 713466661