An Independence Day gift

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY: Ready to make a change with the Ocular Coherence Tomography machine.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY: Ready to make a change with the Ocular Coherence Tomography machine. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

An Independence Day gift came early for the Eye Clinic Unit at Moto’otua Hospital.

Worth US$80,000 (T$203,145), the Church of the Latter Day Saints (L.D.S.) donated an Ocular Coherence Tomography (O.C.T) also known as a retina scanner that scans the back of the eye.

The machine is used to detect diabetes, macular degeneration and other problems of the macular(the center of the retina).

According to Dr. Doug Mehr, who represents the L.D.S., their partnership with the Eye Clinic Unit for their 2018 project has come through once again.

“We are so grateful to be back. We were able to complete the 2017 project last time which was a very successful project and with much happiness and gratitude, it was well received and here we are back for 2018.

“Usually it takes a lot longer, but for some reason the heavens smiled on us and here we are two months later for the 2018 project.

“The piece of equipment that was donated that is called an O.C.T. machine is used specifically for the back of the eye,” he said.

Mr. Mehr explained: “So we are very grateful to use the donations from the members of the Latter Day Saints, children, adults and people throughout the world.

“I am specifically from the visions project and so it makes me very happy to be part of this and to be able to offer this needed and expensive piece of equipment to this clinic.”

Dr. Lucilla Ah Ching-Sefo, who is the first ophthalmologist in Samoa and also heads the eye unit, said there’s been great progress in the work they are doing with the equipment that’s been donated before and to have the O.C.T delivered early is a bonus for the National Health Service.

“We are so grateful, so far with the O.C.T., with the slit lamps that you donated before and the portable retinal fundus cameras, it has lifted the standard. 

“And now with the O.C.T. and our diabetic population and A.M.D. that we thought it was uncommon in our population is not so uncommon anymore, I see it now. It has been such a huge help in the diagnosis and the management and these patients.”

Speaking during the handover of the machine was the acting Clinical Manager for the National Health Services, Dr. Monalisa.

 “This week is the current time of the scientific meeting and the medical association and they’re looking at universal health coverage. So this donation is very significant,” Dr. Monalisa said. 

“I may not be an eye specialist, but I could see that this equipment could help improve and upgrade our services here for the people. And N.H.S. is here to serve.

“Doctor Lucilla and her nursing colleagues are also taking out the services to the community and that is where we are going to be heading and focusing on.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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