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Kenya eye safari

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 10 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:156
  1. David Orr, Africa correspondent,
  2. Ingrid Cox, nurse incharge, Kikuyu eye unit

    Time might not exactly stand still in Mudogashe but neither does it move apace. The river has dried up but will flow again with the advent of the seasonal rains. And the rains will bring the return of the cattle, which have been sent far away in search of grazing.

    This is Kenya's north eastern province, a huge expanse of scrub and semidesert populated by pastoralists. We have flown to this desolate place with a medical team from Kenya's oldest hospital, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa Hospital, established in 1908 at Kikuyu near the capital, Nairobi. On board are two British eye specialists: Dr Mark Wood, director of the hospital's eye unit, and Dr Roger Gray, a consultant retinal ophthalmologist from Somerset who regularly visits Kenya to help train eye surgeons. They are accompanied by an ophthalmic assistant and a nurse.

    The trip to Mudogashe is part of a programme of bimonthly flying safaris which brings the eye unit all over Kenya, as well as to Somalia and Sudan. The unit uses the word safari in its true Swahili meaning of journey. Like much of the unit's work, this mission has been funded by a German aid agency, the Christian Blind Mission, which has a fundraising and information office in Cambridge.

    The patients wait quietly. There are many more people than expected but this is perhaps not …

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