Dave Baker

A few years ago I went on my first Vision Aid Overseas project to Africa when I travelled to Ethiopia for a 2 week outreach programme. One year later I took part in similar project to Burkina Faso. In June 2018 I will be embarking on my third project this time to Sierra Leone.

Vision Aid Overseas has been helping some of the world's poorest people to see for over 30 years. Across the globe millions of people living in poverty have their lives devastated by poor eyesight, unable to go to school, work or support their families due to visual impairment. So many of these people suffer as a result of preventable blindness, often all they need is a pair of glasses. However all over the developing world millions of people have no access to eyecare and struggle with poor eyesight, often with conditions that lead to permanent blindness.

Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world and the outbreak of Ebola Virus in 2016 further overburdened the already weak healthcare infrastructure, this lead to more deaths from medical neglect then Ebola itself. This created a humanitarian crisis situation and heavily impacted economic growth. The country has an extremely low life expectancy relative to other countries, at 57.8 years.

In June I shall be going to some of the most remote areas in Sierra Leone along with four colleagues to set up temporary eyecare clinics in order to provide eyecare and help to the visually impaired who normally have no access to help with their sight. It will be a busy 2 weeks, on my last trip to Burkina Faso we saw 2,500 people in 2 weeks!

In my clinic in Jersey many patients enjoy the luxury of undergoing laser eye treatment to enable them to see clearly without even needing to use spectacles. In the developing world millions of people aren’t even able to have an eye test and to obtain a pair of glasses. Many of my patients leave behind their glasses once they are no longer required. As a team we take thousands of pairs of recycled glasses to Africa where can examine people’s eyes and prescribe them the spectacles they need to help them to get by in life, to go to school, to work, to see their family and friends and be a part of the local community. Having been on two African projects already I have seen first hand what a difference the gift of sight can make to people. As volunteers we need to raise funding for the charity and therefore any donations are very gratefully received, it really does make a difference.

Thank you

Dave Baker