AN EYE surgeon and mountain enthusiast has completed a lifetime ambition by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with his family.
Mark Wevill, from Solihull, used his two week trip to Tanzania to not only climb the mountain, but also help contribute to the region’s local eye health care.
Mr Wevill – who travelled with his two teenage daughters and his wife – took a selection of cataract surgery instruments with him, donated by the optegra eye hospital group.
The surgeon with over 20 years of experience, has long held the climb as a personal challenge and was delighted to finally achieve his goal.
He said: “I visited doctors Makupa and Maro at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshe, Tanzania, which is at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“I was surprised and impressed at the skills of the surgeons; the vast rural outreach programme where highly trained nursing staff travel out to patients, and the quality of eye care provided to the region.
“We hope the cataract surgery instruments donated by optegra are helpful.”
Originally from South Africa, Mr Wevill is passionate about the high volume of cataracts in Africa which cause blindness.
Whilst in the UK people take it for granted that they can treat a cataract in their eye – in Africa, cataracts are a major cause of blindness.
The World Health Organisation calculated that the number of visually impaired people worldwide is in excess of 161 million, and cataract is the leading cause.
Mr Wevill said: “I got in touch with some local charities which work in Africa and saw there was an opportunity to bring some equipment which they can make great use of.
“In the UK, legislation now dictates that we have to use disposable single-use instruments wherever possible for cataract surgery, or titanium kit which can be sterilised.
“However, we had some stunningly beautiful, quality kit at optegra which cannot be used any more.
“I was able to take this out to Tanzania so they now have top class kit to help them treat local people.”
Mr Wevill believes the main difficulties are not limited to the surgery itself, but more so the surgeon training and getting patients to care as this requires an escort which in turn affects their employment.
To find out more about the treatments offered by Mark Wevill and his colleagues, or to attend an open evening, please visit www.optegra.com/birmingham