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EYE TEAM MANAGER FROM NEW PLYMOUTH

Volunteer Ella Hawthorne

Ella’s role is vital to the hospital ship work. She not only set up the eye clinic on the new hospital ship Global Mercy, she now leads the clinical eye team on board.

Why I volunteer with Mercy Ships.

Every day in the Mercy Ships Eye Clinic looks a little different, but on average we see more than 40 patients for pre-operative assessments daily on the Global Mercy, and about 80% are scheduled for surgery.

“My first months with Mercy Ships have been wonderful and challenging, but ultimately it was all leading up to the start of the surgical schedule.

Witnessing the life-changing moment when someone can see again, made all the hard work, late nights, and planning completely worth it!”

Volunteer Ella Hawthorne

“When I looked at each person in front of me, I realised the potentially life-changing encounter we were having.”

Jumping in with both feet, I arrived in Senegal, West Africa -ahead of the ship’s arrival -to work with the Patient Selection team. With translators working alongside, we screened over 1,100 patients over five days in health centres around the capital city of Dakar. A little bit of high school French and a few basic greetings in Wollof (one of the Senegalese dialects) helped me quickly build rapport and resulted in huge smiles and laughter.

Cataracts remain one of the leading causes of preventable blindness globally. According to the WHO’s World Report on Vision from 2019, while there have been substantial increases in cataract surgery rates in low- and middle-income countries, the combination of population growth and an aging population means that the number of adults affected is increasing. The Mercy Ships Ophthalmic Programme focuses mostly on cataract surgery for dense, visually significant cataracts, ideally removing people from being classified as cataract blind (VA 6/60 or worse). There is a secondary focus on pterygium removal, with consideration of tropia, ptosis, evisceration and enucleation surgery as needs require.

IT TAKES PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE TO MAKE MERCY HAPPEN. WHY NOT YOU? FIND YOUR PLACE ONBOARD AS WE SERVE TOGETHER TO DELIVER HOPE AND HEALING.

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