The Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre , founded just after Tanganyika independence from British rule is one of the four Zonal Referral Hospitals in Tanzania. The Ophthalmology Department consists of three units, namely the Eye Clinic, Eye Ward and Eye Operating Theatre. It is staffed by six ophthalmologists, 12 ophthalmology residents, two assistant medical officers ophthalmology, 15 AMOO trainees, 25 nurses, five optometrists and 15 medical attendants.
“The paediatric ophthalmology service is one of three in the country, the other two being in the capital city of Dar es Salaam. Most of the blinding childhood eye diseases in the northern part of Tanzania are treated at the department or not treated at all. In 2012, some 4642 children received eye health care at KCMC, forming 19% of the patient body. Because of the imperative nature of early intervention in childhood blinding diseases, the KCMC paediatric ophthalmology team also provides these essential services to Mwanza Region and its surrounding areas, which lacks these services altogether”. (Tanzania Eye Health Care Forum)
Shida is 9 years old and is the latest child to move to the Mayega Children’s Centre. All children joining the centre are seen by the government medical officer immediately prior to admission as per Tanzanian child care regulations. The M.O. quickly diagnosed childhood cataracts as the reason for her blindness in one eye and impaired vision in the other.
A quick referral to KCMC hospital by the doctor means that today Shida is travelling with Matron to Moshi where it is hoped she will have cataract surgery in the next few days. The surgery will be carried out free of charge as part of a government sponsored programme. We hope this journey will stabilise her sight and bring some improvements.
Shida seems to be coping well with the sudden changes in her life. She was placed at Mayega Children’s Centre by the Busega Social Welfare Department last Thursday, as she was in need of a place of safety. Local villagers raised concerns about her condition and district officials moved quickly to help her.
The other children have already accepted her and include her in everything
Shida’s journey from Mayega began yesterday travelling to Mwanza for an overnight stay in order to catch a long distance bus this morning to Moshi. This is a 14 hour bus journey across the Serengeti. We hope all goes well for her.