The eye team works at four locations on different days of the week. They welcomed us to the church they were using for screening at Ganhi despite the obviously busy workload. Prospective patients lined the street outside before being brought to the main part of the church to wait, before waiting further in the room adjacent to where the team performed their assessments. Some patients have been coming consecutive weeks as the team is so busy it can not always see everyone that comes in one day. After all that waiting some are given appointments for treatment or surgery, others given advice. The team gets fustrated by the numbers of young people wanting assessment for 'itchy eyes' - most likely due to the pollution and dust here and just in need of a bit of extra attention to hygiene - as it takes their time from those people they can really help.
The goal of the project is to reduce the prevalance of blindness/low vision due to cataract and ptergium and to build capacity of the local eye care system. This means while we are in Benin they will see 20, 000 people, distribute sunglasses and reading glasses and perform surgery for over 3000 people. They are aiming to train 2 cataract surgical fellows, train 2 local surgeons and 10 community eye care workers in ophthalmic care. They are certainly going to be busy looking at the (not very happy mob of) people outside, as was the lady selling popcorn next to the entrance!!