Media Release
Carmel Monaghan - Ramsay Health Care Public Affairs Manager
3 June 2010

Peru Mission Accomplished - Nowra Specialist Team Returns Home

A mission to Peru to perform life-altering cataract surgery on the disadvantaged people living in the Colca Valley is complete with the specialist team of doctors and nurses from Nowra arriving back this week.

Organised by Nowra Orthopaedic Surgeon and President of the Australian Alpaca Association (AAA) Dr Ian Davison, the tour group, which included doctors and nurses from Nowra Private Hospital, was led by Nowra General Practitioner Dr Stuart Randell.

“It is hard to believe what has been achieved,” Dr Randell said. “Overall we consulted approximately 350 patients during the week and performed a great deal of cataract surgery.”

He said the clinic space was reconfigured to efficiently assess patients who presented day-by-day, not only with cataracts, but with a wide spectrum of ophthalmological pathology; damage from past trauma (including fireworks injuries), glaucoma, congenital defects, damage from toxoplasmosis infection, macular degeneration and untreated refractive errors.

“Quechua people are prone to cataracts living with a high level of ultra-violet light at high altitudes and many of the patients presenting had cataracts which were far more advanced than anything we had previously seen in Australia.

“Numerous patients who could not be helped with the facilities available to us have had management plans prepared to enable Quechua Benefit to assist them in receiving treatment in Arequipa.

“Looking back through hundreds of photographs taken since arriving at our destination tells quite a story, beginning with our first glimpse of the small room that with hard work and imagination was converted into a functional operating theatre for two eye surgeons in less than 24 hours.

“Our operating theatre kept pace with demand, delivering quality surgical care to every patient presenting with corrigible cataracts (with a few other suitable surgical procedures completed as well).”

Dr Ian Davison who had the inspiration for the mission said the expedition showed that it doesn’t take a lot to provide life-changing services to a significant number of people.

“Cataract surgery can change people’s lives. For all these people who had been living in darkness, isn’t it wonderful that we have been able to make a difference.”

The Ambassador of Peru, His Excellency Caudio de la Puente, also thanked the group for the realisation of this cataract surgery mission to the Colca Valley.

“Your contribution, enthusiasm and generosity in providing your precious time and resources to help restore the gift of sight to the needy people of the Peruvian Altiplano constitutes a most meaningful and effective initiative and a gift that will not be forgotten.”

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