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1)Public Health Context
Cataract is a form of clouding that develops in the eyes’ natural lens. There are three types of cataracts (Skolink, 2011). These types include nuclear cataract, cortical cataract, and subcapsular cataract. There are several causes of cataracts that include exposure of the eye to ultraviolet light and having a diet with high salt content (British Medical Association, 2007). In addition to this, scientists have discovered that alcohol and cigarette consumption increases the risks of a person developing cataracts. There are several symptoms of this disease (DeVries & Price, 2010). One of the symptoms include a person’s vision becoming blurred. Furthermore, colors may not appear as bright as they once did.
Background of the Project
There has been an increase in the cases of cataracts in Uganda. According to the recent statistics, the number of blind people in Uganda is about 720,000 (Merson & Mills, 2006). The leading cause of blindness in Uganda is cataracts. This is because it accounts for about 40 % of the total blindness in this country. It mainly affects the elderly people and children in this country (Wilson, Trivedi & Pandey, 2005). According to Hood Katuramu, considering the representative of disabled people in this country, many Ugandans will continue facing the risk of being blind if nothing is done to eliminate cataracts (Hugh & Parry, 2004). Most Ugandan people do not have the necessary resources to fund eye surgery in order to remove the cataract. In particular, there is evidence of high rates of cataracts in Adjumani District especially Adjumani refugee camp (Hodd & Roche, 2002). Among the blind refugees in this camp, cataract caused 41 % of their blindness.
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2)What is Currently Being Done About It
Several things are currently being done in order to reduce blindness due to cataract in Adjumani refugee camp. The World Health organization is offering free surgery to patients suffering from cataract in this refugee camp (White, 2005). Furthermore, several organizations have set up outreach programs in order to help the citizens living in the rural areas of this district to access eye surgeries that would help in reducing cataract (Rogers, 2011). This is because most of the people in rural villages do not have enough money to access the surgery programs.
3)MAIN OBJECTIVE: REDUCE THE NUMBER OF CATARACTS THAT CAUSE VISION LOSS IN OLD AGE POPULATION AND POVERTY STRICKEN AREAS LIKE RURAL VILLAGES
Research has shown that about 37 million people in the whole world are blind. Out of these blind people, 700000 people are from Uganda. It is sad to find that 75 % of this blindness can be easily avoided through surgery (Jacoby & Youngson, 2004). However, many elderly people in Uganda, especially in Adjumani district, do not have money to pay for eye surgery to remove cataract. In addition to this, there are few clinics that have all the necessary equipment to perform tese surgeries (Cavalloti & Cerulli, 2008). They also do not have the latest technological equipment to perform surgeries that effectively remove cataract. Most elderly people also believe that evil spirits and curses cause blindness, and thus they do not trust treatment from modern medical equipment (Reinkka & Collier, 2011).
Most ophthalmologists live in urban areas and are from Makerere University. It is thus hard for the poor people living in remote rural areas to receive eye treatment (Hegner, Ancello & Caldwell, 2009). Religious organizations have been offering financial assistance to these poor people in an attempt of helping them to cover their travel costs so that they access eye surgery.
4) Steps for the Proposal
a) Define Stakeholders: Elderly people, people from Adjumani refugee camp, health officials, local chiefs, religious leaders
b) Develop needs assessment. A team consisting of six volunteers and me will compose a survey that will be sent to each household in Adjumani refugee camp and elderly people in Adjumani district.
c)Establish primary, secondary, and tertiary team players
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Six volunteers are the primary players of my team. I will select these members from Adjumani villages since they will be able to communicate easily with the local people to ask them if they support the setting of eye camps for treating cataract complications. The secondary team players are the health officials. They will be responsible for conducting data about the most suitable location to set up the eye camps based on statistics of cataract complications. The tertiary team players are religious leaders and local chiefs.
d) Perform statistics/survey results of the criteria needed to research in this field
With the help of the six volunteers, I will create surveys that will be sent to all homes containing elderly people in poor areas in Adjumani district (Parker & Sommer, 2011). I will also send these surveys to Adjumani refugee camp. The survey will contain questions that will seek to establish whether the local people support establishing eye camps in this district. It will also ask whether local people are ready to volunteer in helping this surgical process.
e) Increase steps to accessing health care/ mission camps/ free eye camps.
As I established from my research, it is difficult for patients suffering from eye complications to access healthcare services, and this has contributed to blindness due to cataract.
How will I cope with this? I am planning to establish two mission camps in Adjumani refugee camp and rent three apartments in Adjumani town where people from rural areas can receive eye treatment. I will offer free training to the nurses in local clinics in these districts, and thus they will have the skills for conducting eye surgery. They will help me in attending to the large number of patients, and this will improve the care provided to these patients (Leitman, 2011). I will also receive ffree surgical equipments from World Health Organization which will help me cover for the surgical costs; thus I will have an opportunity to help many patients.
5)Increase awareness and education through media, Internet, Speech/Lecture
I will educate the people in the local community on the various signs and symptoms of cataract by giving them speeches in their refugee camps and their household. One of the volunteers will be translating my speeches into the local language of Uganda so that they understand the benefits of early treatment. In addition to this, I plan to educate the local people through local radio stations on why it is important to abandon inferior cultures and local methods of treatment in order to access modern surgical treatments (Okwero et al., 2010).
6) Handing out free stuff regarding this proposal
I plan to offer free eyeglasses to the patients who suffer from eye defects. I also plan to offer free surgery and medication after surgery that will help in removing cataract thus improve visual capability.
How I will get this goal accomplished: Optica has offered to give me 4000 free eyeglasses. In addition to this, they have donated six latest equipments for detecting eye complications. I have also received 10, 000 dollars donation for funding this proposal.
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7) Evaluation of the Plan: After attaining my target funding, I want to conduct a research among local hospitals and refugee camp clinics on the reported cases of cataract. This will help me estimate the correct number of nurses and camps that I require in order to perform quality eye checkups for all the patients.
How I will do this: My team will retrieve the databases of local clinics in Adjumani district. Furthermore, they will conduct interviews with the local people in order to determine how many people suffer from eye problems.
8) Timeline is one Year
The project in total will last for about one year. In the first three months, our team will conduct surveys and train nurses on how to perform eye surgeries. In the next three months, we will be conducting massive campaigns to educate the people of Adjumani district on the benefits of attending eye checkups. In the next three months, we will set up eye camps in Adjumani district and Adjumani refugee camp. In the last three months, we will conduct surveys on the response of the residents of Adjumani after the establishment of the eye camps.
To conclude, it is important to implement the proposal of establishing eye camps in Adjumani in order to reduce the number of blindness cases caused by cataract in Uganda (Rwabwago & Karibwije, 2005). For successful implementation of this proposal, I need additional funding in order to purchase expensive equipment required for effective eye surgery. I also need support from the local community since they will be responsible for translating my speeches to the elderly communities (Van der Gaag, 1995).
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