Sightsavers stories

Beru's story

June 2014
Best decision he ever made!

When 70-year-old Beru heard about the availability of cataract surgery in his area, his friends tried to dissuade him despite the fact that he was almost blind and had to give up working.

But he decided to go ahead with the operation. He is so pleased with the outcome that he says it’s the best decision he’s ever made!

Ironically, Beru lives just outside the Jeevan Jyotie Health Service Hospital (JJHS) in Jhabua, a Sightsavers partner for about seven years. The area JJHS covers (Jhabua, one of the most deprived areas of Madhya Pradesh) battles against the cultural view that local healers are the only form of healthcare a person needs. The hospital is trying to convince people like Beru in the community that the right way forward is to seek appropriate health care.

Having a cataract operation is the best decision he ever made!

Although JJHS is in a position to offer the much needed health care its people need, it is struggling to cope with lack of electricity and trained manpower in the area (the hospital has only two part time doctors), due to which the hospital can offer surgeries only three days in a week, with almost no chances of an emergency surgery.

In stark contrast to the JJHS Hospital in Jhabua, a hospital that serves the needs of hard to reach communities is the Gomabai Eye Hospital, which Sightsavers has supported since 2004. It covers the districts of Neemuch and Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, and the districts of Jhalawad and Bhilwara in Rajasthan.

The hospital has a 160 bed capacity, and offers services like cataract and glaucoma surgery, as well as treatment for low vision and diabetic retinopathy. It also has a spectacle lab, so when a patient is prescribed glasses they are able to get them within hours after being seen, thus saving them a costly and time-consuming journey to the hospital later.

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