Four special presenters along with Doug Hawley provided a fabulous summary of their experiences at the 2018 eye and ear mission to the Philippines during last Monday’s meeting.
Kalanie Gunatillake, Sophie Gutknecht, Kaitlin Rust and Rachel Stin were the four Latrobe University orthoptic students, now graduates, who joined 18 other team members on the trip to the northern part of the Palawan island.
They described the surgery process, the basic sanitary procedures and the beautiful moment when the bandages were removed after a successful operation and the patient could again see.
They also outlined some of the barriers to healthcare in a rural country which included financial, cultural and religious and the stigma related to wearing sunglasses.
Some impressive numbers were details from the trip:
  • 1900 eye screening and 5000 ear screening
  • 300 reading classes distributed
  • 600 sunglasses distributed
  • 170 surgeries performed
  • 400 glasses distributed to primary school students
  • 60 glasses distributed to high school students
Some of the highlight of the trip were:
  • The improvement to the health and quality of life of individual Philippine residents
  • Creating and maintaining the relationships between Australian and local rotarians
  • Personal and vocational growth through the learning and cultural experiences
The joy and the humbling nature of the experience was demonstrated when a story was told of a patient who wrote a song expressing thanks for the help provided by the eye and ear team.
There were many questions and it was great that several other members of the 2018 team also came along to catch up and have a chat about another very successful eye and ear mission by the Club to the Philippines – number 22 by the Club.