Moroccan clinic provides a clearer future

تم النشر: 8 يونيو 2004 0:00 CET

Rana Sidani in Kenitra

They were all different ages: elderly, small children, adolescents. But all these people who had come to the Moroccan Red Crescent (CRM) offices in Kaser El-Kebir had two things in common. They were all impoverished and they had come for a free eye test.

Ten volunteer nurses and ophthalmologists had come from other regions of the country to examine these patients who had no other way of benefiting from a consultation.

The CRM volunteers have visited several towns in central Morocco, testing more than 1,000 people in the process. The Red Crescent not only conducts the consultation. It also ensures the follow-up, providing the spectacles, medicines and surgery if necessary.

Of the 147 people examined in Kaser El-Kebir, 30 needed an operation.

“Some children abandon their studies because they have a problem with their eyesight,” explains Badreddine Bensaoud, secretary general of the CRM.

“This excludes them from apprenticeships, condemning them to being unskilled,” he adds. “However, for most of them, their problems can be resolved by a course of treatment or simply a pair of spectacles.”

In southern regions of Morocco, rural populations suffer from high rates of trachoma prevalence, particularly among the homeless and poor who do not have access to good hygiene.

The CRM sends its mobile clinic into these regions to examine sufferers. But it is not as easy as it seems

The CRM mobile clinic uses equipment from its specialised ophthalmic clinic in Kenitra. This means that patients in Kenitra and neighbouring towns have to wait for the equipment to return before they can receive treatment.

Four doctors and 40 staff work in the permanent clinic, which is “paralysed” for the duration of the mobile mission’s clinic.

“Our clinic’s capacity is limited,” Bensaoud says. “Its regular activity has to stop so we can send the equipment for detecting eye conditions into the rural areas. This means that the Kenitra clinic’s work is interrupted and many patients have to wait until it returns.”

“We are making a plea to sister Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to help us obtain a mobile clinic so we can provide a service to the whole of Morocco all year long,” he adds.