The Friends Of The Gambia Association

Charity details

Registered address
8 Essex Close,
Morden,
SM4 4NP

Phone
08454 968078

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Charity number
1051745

Cataract project

In December 2014 some of our committee members spent a day travelling to Soma which is more than 100 miles from the main hotel coast line.

They went to Soma to see a man, Alasana Touray, who does remarkable work in difficult circumstances.  He is an eye surgeon.  One of several in The Gambia who work “up country”.
 
The major part of his surgical work is the removal of cataracts.  The incidence of cataracts throughout Africa is much higher than any where else in the world.  Cataracts normally afflict older people but in Africa they are not uncommon in people in their fifties.
 
Whilst poverty in The Gambia is widespread, poverty in the rural areas, away from the tourist haunts, is at its most severe.  Subsistence farming will allow a family to eat but cash is in very short supply.  Health care in The Gambia is not free.  Some of the cost is bourn by the government but not all.

The cost of a cataract operation and postoperative medicine is about D2,000 (approx. £30)  If an older member of the family is slowly going blind and they are not in pain, their needs will have a low priority.  Unless the operation is free, it cannot be afforded.
 
As their sight diminishes, people with cataracts become totally inactive and wholly dependant on someone in the family seeing to their most basic needs.  They cannot go to the toilet on their own as it is unsafe.  They sit in the house and do nothing.
 
When he has the funds to provide free cataract operations, Alasana sends scouts out to the villages to identify who could benefit.  This work used to be supported by Sightsavers but no longer.  They have decided that their efforts should be concentrated on other parts of Africa.
 
In October 2014, FoTGA donated £1,500 so that 50 operations could be carried out at Soma.  In fact 55 were carried out but there is still a waiting list of at least 150.  FoTGA funded a further 44 operations in the early part of this year.
 
We would like to raise sufficient funds to fund a further 50 operations.
Please help us do so. 
£30.00 is all that is needed to restore the sight in one eye of someone with cataracts but any sum that you can afford will be received with gratitude.
 
The joy on people’s faces when they  find that they can see again is all the reward that anyone could wish for.

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