My Commitment as an Eye Doctor in Africa
Outreaches in one of the poorest countries in the world: The eye doctor Dominique Mustur treats people in Togo who suffer from an eye disease.
Daily program: 9 eye surgeries
Men and women sit on two rows of benches in a small hospital in Togo, Africa. "One looks into happy, grim, interested, confused faces", says the diary of the Swiss foundation "ToGo opening eyes". Each of the patients is here with their relatives, some of them are blind. A team of ophthalmologists, anaesthetists and surgical nurses from Switzerland has a lot to do on this Monday in September. Also present is the Zurich ophthalmologist Dominique Mustur, who has a practice in Wollishofen. A total of nine cataract surgeries, i.e. treatments for cataracts, are scheduled for this day. They are all successful.
Market in Vogan (Togo)
The small Togolese town of Vogan is about 60 kilometres from the capital Lomé. This is where Dominique Mustur travelled to operate. (Photo: ToGo opening eyes foundation)
Togo is a small state in West Africa with about 8 million inhabitants. French is officially spoken, the languages Ewe and Kabiyé are national languages. The country with an area of 56785 square kilometres is one of the poorest states in the world. Togo borders on Ghana, Burkina Faso and Benin.
The next mission in Togo by ophthalmologist Dominique Mustur is planned for autumn 2020.
ToGo opening eyes Foundation. IBAN: CH49 00232 232109 956 42B.
Swiss foundation "ToGo opening eyes"
The foundation "ToGo opening eyes" is dedicated to the fight against cataracts. This disease causes the lens of the eye to become cloudy. Once the disease has progressed, the affected people see as if through a frosted glass. If cataracts are not treated, you can go blind. Togo is considered one of the poorest countries in the world and there is a lack of ophthalmologists. Accordingly, there is a lot of undersupply. This is where the foundation steps in: it wants to help with free eye treatments.
The infrastructure in the African country of Togo is poorly developed - as are the roads.
Patients come from far away
For the second time Dominique Mustur is operating in Vogan, which is about an hour and a half drive from the capital Lomé. "Vogan is small, the town has only just over 1000 inhabitants," says the 44-year-old. The road is full of potholes and the infrastructure is poorly developed. "After all, the hospital has a well-equipped operating room, but unfortunately no equipment for eye operations," says Mustur. This is brought in containers from Switzerland. The assignments last two weeks each.
Word of the offer has gotten around: Some people travel up to 600 kilometres to be treated. An operation lasts from 15 minutes to one hour. The team only treats people with very advanced cataracts. "In almost all cases, we only operate on one eye in patients who are ill - so that we can help as many as possible," explains the eye surgeon, who has travelled Africa many times before. In Cape Town she worked for eight months in the eye clinic of the university there. Follow-up treatment is provided by Togolese hospital staff trained by the Foundation.
"You can't change the world, but you can help people," says Mustur self-critically. She is happy about every successful operation. The missions in Togo would each time put the everyday problems of the population in Switzerland and throughout Western Europe into perspective.
Text: Pascal return (@localinfo.ch), 19 December 2019
Eye surgery in Togo
Dominique Mustur operates in a small hospital in Vogan.
After the Eye Operation
Dominique Mustur and the patient at the hospital in Vogan.
Ophthalmologist Dominique Mustur in her Practice in Zurich Wollishofen (Photo: PW)
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