The support from the Christian Ophthalmology Society in the wake of the devastation left by Hurricane Dorian on the island nation of the Bahamas has been tremendous. The pictures and words in this update convey some of what is being done by COS Board Member Dr. Duranda Ash, the people in her practice, and the volunteers and donations made by the COS and many others.
His Gift of Sight (HGOS) Social Clinic is a socially conscious ophthalmic clinic operated by the Ash Eye Institute and during the first week of January, they hosted a Free Vision Outreach for evacuees and other people that were directly affected by hurricane Dorian. The outreach was held on two islands — New Providence and Grand Bahama.
Duranda writes, ?The team consisted of 3 missionary ophthalmologists, 1 missionary optometrist and 19 volunteers (including RNs and the staff of Ash Eye Institute). We had the pleasure of serving and providing treatment to almost 800 people during the outreach (turned away much more than we saw), as well as distributing over 250 glasses. The outreach enabled us to identify individuals that needed vision threatening eye care and glasses.
?It was a privilege to partner with the Christian Ophthalmology Society (COS) and Vision Outreach International (VOI) to provide services and glasses free of charge to these individuals. There were many people who were screened that has required follow up care. The eye care needs, especially in Freeport Grand Bahama, are great (multiple eye diseases).?
The screening personnel included Duranda Ash, M.D. and her staff, (Bahamas); Carol Johnston, M.D. and Carol Smith, O.D., (North Carolina); Mark Cichowski, M.D. and his wife Jan, (Washington); and Roger Cabe, MNA (Michigan). It was truly a combined effort.
On one particular day they had the opportunity to drive out to an area of severe devastation. The eastern side of the Grand Bahamas was totally destroyed. Electrical poles for over 50 miles were flattened. After months of recovery, many are still without electricity and living in tents as they try to rebuild their lives.
Roger Cabe from VOI, writes, ?There were a multitude of stories about God?s protection in the midst of flood waters, home destructions, and total loss. The aftermath has been almost as devastating as the hurricane. The stress and pressure of rebuilding lives and businesses with no money or insurances has caused anxiety, PTSD, and premature death for family and loved ones.
?YET, there is still HOPE in the midst of depression. Each day we would pray before our screening with doctors, staff, and patients. Each station of service was not only a place for screening, but for encouragement, prayer, counsel, and hope.
?There are REAL PEOPLE with real problems. Their needs exceeded our abilities in eye care. That?s when it is pertinent to know and share that GREATER HOPE beyond and above our abilities to bring healing. The hope and healing of the Holy Spirit. It also reminded us of the POWER OF A FRIEND. Just knowing that someone is out there who loves you unconditionally, is available and willing to walk by your side, hold your hand, and help you, gives HOPE for future days.?
From Duranda…?We extend our thanks and sincere gratitude to you for your generosity in support of those affected by hurricane Dorian. It is because of organizations like [the COS and VOI] that HGOS has been able to provide necessary eyecare for free to the Dorian Evacuees. May the Joy of the Lord be your strength, Duranda?