GRACE VISION PROGRAMME DURING COVID-19 - UPDATE

Grace Vision has been operating during the pandemic. Following guidelines from the National and Eastern Cape Department of Health with whom we have our MOU, we have been operating in a restricted form. As with all state ophthalmology departments, we have been limited to examining urgent and emergency patients in the Grace Vision premises at the Zithulele hospital and the Canzibe Hospital. The following is how operations have proceeded and facilities utilized:

  • We have been phoning patients who require critical chronic eye medication and dropping it off at their clinics for them to collect and spectacles which were not collected or in production during lockdown. This is being done every week to cover the 26 clinics we serve and repeated to continue each month with chronic medication.
  • Our team has been involved in making and distributing of masks for COVID-19 relief and support for the vulnerable community. In addition, they are helping at the hospital gate for screening and triage.
  • Our accommodation units (normally used for surgeons or theatre sisters) have been utilized by the hospital for isolation of personnel who are COVID positive.
  • Schools in the area have been closed for long periods and then briefly open so we are encouraging any urgent needs to be sent to Grace Vision at the hospital and will screen children at the clinics as we are soon starting with our clinic outreach.
  • As the virus will continue for the foreseeable future, we have re-invented how we will operate safely for our patients and staff. We will shortly start our mobile clinic outreach with very strict safety protocols in place. Following expert advice from various medical specialists, there is a detailed protocol of how we will examine patients and how we will maximize patient and staff safety. Patient numbers will have to be less due to sanitising equipment and examination area after each patient. Extensive PPE for staff and social distancing and masks for patients will be ensured.
  • Cataract surgeries will be on hold for a while longer as we await the go ahead from Department of Health ophthalmology.
  • While COVID-19 has changed the world and the way we can operate, but we are thankful that we can now get back to serving the eye care of poor and vulnerable in our rural area.
  • Grace Vision is very thankful to all funders, both corporate and private for the impact that they have had and will continue to have on the poorest and often neglected rural population. We are dedicated to working tirelessly at serving this need to the best of our ability and in the most effective way in all circumstances.

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Grace Vision Blog

Meet Lwazi

 

Lwazi is a 17 year old boy, currently only in Grade 7 at a rural school near Canzibe Hospital. 17 year old boys should be either in grade 12, or already finished high school. However, Lwazi has been unable to pass any grade up to 2018, and was merely pushed up due to his age.

When Grace Vision visited the school, we discovered that Lwazi was legally blind, only able to see blurred images of what was in his field of vision. If he held something up against his nose, he could barely make out what it was.

Our Optometrist prescribed some very strong prescription glasses for him, and I was privileged to be at the school, filming our next video update, when he was fitted with them.

For the first time in his life, Lwazi was able to focus on the blurry images in front of him, and see what a human face really looks like. The teacher had been writing on the chalk board, and after his glasses were fitted, we asked him to read it. Silly question, as he was unable in his 17 years to learn how to read. In addition, while we were able to restore his sight to some level of normalcy, Lwazi has become a recluse over the years, isolated from participating at school, and in the community.

It was indeed an emotional moment for us all, and a humbling experience, being able to help Lwazi restore his sight. However, it grieved us that we were not able to discover him 10 years earlier.

Grace Vision is dedicated and committed to ensuring that disadvantaged children like Lwazi, living in forgotten rural communities of our country, have a visual level playing field when starting out their schooling.

While over the past 3 years Grace Vision has screened over 28,000 learners in the rural areas of the old Transkei, and corrected the vision of all who needed it, we are merely scratching the surface of the need.

My heart goes out to young learners like Lwazi, many of whom do not even KNOW that they are unable to focus, since blurred vision has been all they have experienced from a very young age.

Fortunately, only about 800 of the 28,000 screened so far have needed correction. It doesn’t seem like much, for each of those young lives, it has changed their lives for the good, allowing them to achieve their full potential.

I am reminded of the story of the ‘Star thrower’, who every morning walked along a stretch of beach tossing stranded star fish washed up on the beach overnight back into the water. A passer-by asked him why he bothers, when there were thousands of starfish washed up each night, and we really was NOT making any difference, really. The man picked up a star fish, tossed it into water and said ‘It made a difference to THAT one!”

I trust that we at Grace Vision will ALWAYS be at the coalface of the hour of need for the forgotten poor of our country and make a difference!

Blessings to you all,

John Rae

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Grace and Dignity

NPC: 1998/18381/08
NPO: 006-142 NPO
PBO: 930 027 945

Operational Address:

Zithulele Mission
Hospital
Zithulele Village
Mqanduli District 5080
Eastern Cape
South Africa

Physical Address:

4 Kendal Mews
134 Main Rd, Diep River
Cape Town
7800

Mailing Address:

PO Box 290
Plumstead 7801
Cape Town
South Africa

GRACE VISION PROGRAMME DURING COVID-19 - UPDATE

Grace Vision has been operating during the pandemic. Following guidelines from the National and Eastern Cape Department of Health with whom we have our MOU, we have been operating in a restricted form. As with all state ophthalmology departments, we have been limited to examining urgent and emergency patients in the Grace Vision premises at the Zithulele hospital and the Canzibe Hospital. The following is how operations have proceeded and facilities utilized:

  • We have been phoning patients who require critical chronic eye medication and dropping it off at their clinics for them to collect and spectacles which were not collected or in production during lockdown. This is being done every week to cover the 26 clinics we serve and repeated to continue each month with chronic medication.
  • Our team has been involved in making and distributing of masks for COVID-19 relief and support for the vulnerable community. In addition, they are helping at the hospital gate for screening and triage.
  • Our accommodation units (normally used for surgeons or theatre sisters) have been utilized by the hospital for isolation of personnel who are COVID positive.
  • Schools in the area have been closed for long periods and then briefly open so we are encouraging any urgent needs to be sent to Grace Vision at the hospital and will screen children at the clinics as we are soon starting with our clinic outreach.
  • As the virus will continue for the foreseeable future, we have re-invented how we will operate safely for our patients and staff. We will shortly start our mobile clinic outreach with very strict safety protocols in place. Following expert advice from various medical specialists, there is a detailed protocol of how we will examine patients and how we will maximize patient and staff safety. Patient numbers will have to be less due to sanitising equipment and examination area after each patient. Extensive PPE for staff and social distancing and masks for patients will be ensured.
  • Cataract surgeries will be on hold for a while longer as we await the go ahead from Department of Health ophthalmology.
  • While COVID-19 has changed the world and the way we can operate, but we are thankful that we can now get back to serving the eye care of poor and vulnerable in our rural area.
  • Grace Vision is very thankful to all funders, both corporate and private for the impact that they have had and will continue to have on the poorest and often neglected rural population. We are dedicated to working tirelessly at serving this need to the best of our ability and in the most effective way in all circumstances.

Please close the box by pressing the x at the top or just click outside the box to continue to website

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