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Israel To Train Cameroon Eye Specialists 

By Chris Mbunwe — The 8th Eye Camp organised by the Embassy of Israel in Cameroon, launched on March 17 in Bamenda, will end on July 26.

The Eye Camp, involving surgical operations on the blind and restoring their sights, was organised by the Israeli Embassy in collaboration with Israeli Agency For International Cooperation for Development, MASHAV, and the Ministry of Public Health.

Speaking at the launch, the Israeli Ambassador to Cameroon, H.E Arbel Miki, said, thanks to the association of former trainees and friends of Israel, SHALOM Club and the Director of the Bamenda Regional Hospital, Dr. Charles Awasom, who convinced him and Israeli doctors that an eye camp in Bamenda was feasible from the technical and organisational perspective, it wouldn’t have been organised.

He emphasised that, if he has to dwell more on the technical aspects, it is because, “it is what ensures that such delicate surgery as eye surgery takes place successfully and that patients effectively regain their sights.”

Ambassador Arbel Miki, said Israel’s Agency for International Cooperation for Development, MASHAV, and Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs believe that beyond an encounter of States, the relation between two friendly countries is an activity-based encounter of peoples. It is an arena where people showcase their different experiences and share knowledge for the development of all, he said.

“We were sure to have all these ingredients in Bamenda and that is why we are here. The Eye Camp will not just be about treating people. Its focus will be on ensuring that local doctors are trained adequately to be able to continue to perform similar operations on their own even after the camp,” H.E Miki remarked.

He said further that, as July 26 closes on, when Israeli doctors take leave of Bamenda, they will leave some of their knowledge behind and will take with them knowledge acquired from local doctors. 

“Knowledge sharing is the substance and nature of the relations between Israel and Cameroon. We do the same in agriculture, education, science and technology, arts and culture and all areas in which Israel has experience and knowledge to share,” Miki averred. He expressed his gratitude to the EYE from ZION in Israel for allowing their doctors to travel to Cameroon and carryout surgery on patients.

Appreciating the team of experts from Israel, Bamenda Regional Hospital Director, Dr. Charles Awasom, expressed the need for training of doctors and nurses in Israel, and thanked the Ambassador for promising that. He appealed for modern equipment and revealed that a 60-year-old blind woman, from Bali Park, returned a few hours home with her sight restored and many other patients.

Northwest Governor, Lele L’Afrique, in his speech, remarked that the Israeli- Cameroon ties have grown in leaps and bounds with concrete fruits. He called on the population to ensure that blind people across Northwest benefit from the free eye surgery.

The objective of the Israeli Eye Camp is to perform surgical operations leading to the treatment of cataract, train local doctors on surgical procedures using modern equipment. Previous Eye Camps in Cameroon took place at the Yaounde Central Hospital and at the Laquintinie Hosptial in Douala. The last one held at the Centre Hospitalier D’Essos, Yaounde, in June 2010.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01361