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Tanji hosts free eye testing, specks donation

May 18, 2012, 2:46 PM | Article By: Hally O. Mendy

A day-long eye testing and donation of eye glasses to needy individuals took place on 6 May 2012 at Tanje Village museum.

The philanthropic gesture, coordinated by one Abdoulie Bayo, attracted people from all walks of life in the community.

The philanthropies donated 300 eyeglasses to villagers who were first tested for eye problem.

The testing was done medically and optically by two eye specialists, Gibril Tamba of the old Serrekunda Hospital and Abubacarr Yabo of the Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Clinic situated at Kanifing.

Speaking on the eye clinic day, Pascal Mendy, one of the donors, said the glasses are meant for Gambians and residence of The Gambia.

The Gambian based in Germany, Pascal, who have made similar gesture to the Gambian Athletics Association reckon that this is nothing special but to give the Gambian any help he and his wife can render.

“My wife needs to be commended as she was the one who realised that bringing eyeglasses to The Gambia will supplement government’s effort in the eradication of eye-related problems,” he said.

For her part, Mila Iglesias, wife of Pascal the brain behind the gesture, said they have seen that eyeglasses are highly needed in The Gambia and eye problems are becoming a major health issue in the country.

“We want to continue in assisting The Gambia and friends of The Gambia in any form of help, therefore supplementing Government’s efforts, especially in the areas of sport and health,” Mila told this paper.

Gibril Tamba, an eye specialist of the old Serrekunda hospital and a volunteer for the testing and issuing of glasses, thanked the couple Pascal and Mila, in the same vein calling on Gambians in the Diaspora to emulate their  brother Pascal for what he called “a good initiative and the right step in supplementing government’s efforts”.

Mr Tamba used the opportunity to urge the residence of Tanji as well as the entire Gambian public to do away with risky practices that cause severe eye problems. 

These practices include allowing detergents like soap to enter the eyes during bath, exposure of the eye to smoke, extreme brightness of light including sunlight and other affections.

 According to him, most eye problems are nature, caused by the combination of dust and sunlight which later causes inflammation in the eye and allows bacteria to infect the eyes. “This can be reduced by wearing sunglasses and doing regular eye checkups,” he said.

 He once again thanked Mila and Pascal on behalf of the Minister of Health and Social Welfare and the entire Gambian population.

Alhajie Baba Bojang, Imam of Tanje Nema and head of the delegation that received the items on behalf of the village Alkalo and the people of Tanje, spoke with gratitude about the donors and their host Mr Abdoulie Bayo, who also made the eye clinic day possible by freely allocating his museum to be used as a clinic.

“I am very delighted to have personally benefitted from this wonderful gesture, so I believe my fellow elders are,” he said.

According to him, the couple have brought joy to hearts of the village and elders who spend most of their time performing Quranic recitation in the mosque, marriage, naming ceremony or burial ceremonies and other elderly traditional ceremonies.

Imam Bojang thanked Mila and Pascal Mendy on behalf of the Alkalo and the people of Tanji. “I pray to the Almighty God to bless them and give them the ability to spread such initiatives to other villages in The Gambia,” the imam said.

Mama Jawo, a resident of Pipeline, indirectly benefitted through his wife Ida Mendy and daughter Ramatoulie Jawo, who were tested and issued with glasses. 

“I bought my daughter’s first eye glasses at the main eye care centre for D1,200 and my wife purchased hers in England for nothing less than a hundred and fifty pounds.”

He thanked the couple for what he termed a laudable initiative.

Alh. Abdou Aziz Colley, an elder residing in Jabang, raised sentiments similar to the imam’s. “Eye glasses are very costly and is more than a month’s livelihood as a poor man,” he said.

Mr. Abdoulie Bayo, manager and proprietor of the Tanje Village Museum, said he and his wife will do everything lawful to support the people of Tanje.

According to him, the step taken in offering part of his museum premises as an eye clinic is just a show of appreciation to what Pascal and his wife Mila had done, not only for Tanje but for supplementing the efforts of the government’s health sector.

The project will continue as long as Pascal and Mila are willing, Mr Bayo said, while pleading with the donors to help the couple in their good initiatives as the two eye specialist volunteers have already listed the sophisticated equipment that would allow the smooth running of the clinic.

The day ended with testing and issuing of reading glasses, medicated glasses for both long and short-sighted people as well as sunglasses.