Two major “Sans Frontières” missions to Madagascar and Togo took place last fall and included about 50 volunteers. In total, these two missions provided dental and visual health care to more than 3,000 individuals, and surgery as well as prostheses on amputees.
Dentists, optometrists, opticians, doctors, surgeons, dental assistants and nurses were among the practitioners who had the opportunity to experience solidarity by travelling to Madagascar or Togo to offer their services to populations with very limited access to health care and to share their expertise with TSF field partners. “The majority of people we treated were seeing a dentist for the first time” mentioned Dr. André Rousseau, member of Team Madagascar, while specifying that there is a great need to share information on oral hygiene. Dentists performed 2,000 extractions on 810 people during their stay. As for optometrists, they checked more than 1000 people and handed out 875 pairs of glasses with corrective lenses. “The members of this mission had a good heart and were dynamic, competent and experienced. Each one of them was a gift for us and for the poor whom they treated.” states sister Marie-Florence, from the congregation Petites Franciscaines de Marie, which hosted the mission in Antsirabe, Madagascar. In Togo, the optometrist team provided prescription glasses and/ or sunglasses to more than 1,000 people. “We even found a pair for an elderly lady who could only see out of one eye and who needed a correction of -12, which is very difficult to obtain during a mission. Often, we simply must manage with a correction that is close enough but in this case, we had exactly what she needed. She started smiling and recognizing people around her the minute she put them on”, tells Petain Saavedra, TSF Project Officer. A few cataract operations were also performed. Furthermore, a team also performed fifteen or so surgeries treating hydrocele cases (water accumulation around the testicles). “We knew very well that we couldn’t save Africa, but we managed to change the lives of some individuals for the better”, mentions Dr. Myriam Paul. The Togo team, whose mission was supported by the Club Rotary District Maine – Québec, had shipped a container full of equipment beforehand in order to carry out their work according to satisfactory standards. Arm prostheses were also shipped out for fifteen or so amputees. Several other missions are being planned for the coming year and a few spots are still available. Visit our website for more details.