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Second batch of eye patients from SVG now in Venezuela

Second batch of eye patients from SVG now in Venezuela

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by Chanolde Munroe

A second batch of 14 patients from St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is now in Venezuela undergoing medical intervention to improve their sight, as part of the Miracle Eye Care programme between SVG and Venezuela.

The Vincentians left SVG last Thursday, {{more}}following a ceremony at the VIP lounge at the ET Joshua airport, during which they were in high spirits and prayed and sang songs of praise.

Pearl Charles, one of the patients, told SEARCHLIGHT that she was thankful to both the Government of SVG and Venezuela for giving her the opportunity to have her vision corrected.

She explained that she has cataracts in both eyes, which makes it difficult for her to see, especially in the mornings. She also admitted to being “a bit scared” as that was her first time travelling out of state.

Margarita Charles, another patient, noted that she has cataracts and when she bends her head, she gets blurred vision. Charles thanked the Lord and the Government of SVG and Venezuela and said she hoped for safe travel and a successful surgery. The patients were accompanied by staff nurse Shari Commissiong.

Acting Prime Minister Girlyn Miguel, in her address at the ceremony, thanked the Venezuelan Government for their unrelenting help in the development of the St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Also in attendance was Minister of Health Clayton Burgin who thanked the Government of Venezuela for their continued help. He said that Venezuela was continuing the work which had been started by Cuban doctors. He noted that SVG is the first CARICOM country to receive help under this initiative. He further explained that over 500 patients had been screened for the programme.

Burgin noted that of the first batch of 14 patients who went to Venezuela, only 10 were able to receive surgery, as the other four had medical complications.

Chargé d’ Affairs and head of the Venezuelan mission in SVG Daliana Guanipa stated that so far 51 surgeries have been completed, of which 14 were for cataracts and 21 for pterygium. She also said that doctors will be returning to SVG to offer post operational help to patients. She also made it clear that patients who were not able to travel to Venezuela will receive the surgeries at the MCMH.

Patients returning were urged by Minister Burgin and the Deputy Prime Minister to follow post operation directions given by the doctors.

Herman Belmar, one of the patients who returned from Venezuela last Thursday, said the trip was one he will never forget. He explained that before leaving, his left eye was dim and he was hardly able to see out of it. He noted that after his surgery, he was given a piece of reading material by his doctor and he was amazed at the difference in his vision. Belmar now parallels the vision in his right eye with that of an energy saver bulb. He said that he was overwhelmed with gratitude and is thankful for the experience.

One patient who was not able to receive the surgery said although she was disappointed, she enjoyed her trip. She explained that her doctors informed her that she had pulmonary disease and the doctor explained that having surgery could result in her going blind. She says her main focus now is to get better, so she could receive the treatment at the MCMH. The patients in the first batch were accompanied by staff nurse Arianna Israel.

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