Edward Kondrot, MD
Edward Kondrot, MD
Ophthalmology · Charleroi, PA

Free Eye surgeries in Togo Africa

November 6th
Mango, Togo, Togo

Project Description

Mango is a village 9 hours drive north of Lome, the capital of Togo. Where it is located, there is no eye doctors to perform surgery for the the poor people in this area. I will be bringing supplies for 200 cases and will perform surgery free of charge to the blind patients.

Population Served

The people in Mango, Togo will be the main patient population but often times there are people walking from 2 to 3 days walk from village around who would come to have their eye surgeries done. The cataracts are so dense that these people are practically blind. They only see hand motion or light perception.

Expected Impact

After surgery the blind adults can go back to their village and farm to feed their families. They also free up the children who are often used as care giver for these blind villagers. A new life if given back to each person who has his or her eye sight restored.

Trip Photos & Recap

After a very long 30-hour flight to get to Lome, Togo, Africa, I was greeted by the local team at the Lome International Airport. The team van was loaded with a portable microscope and many boxes of supplies that we would use for the surgeries. Then, the 12-hour trip begins on the main freeway going north-south toward the northern border of Togo and Burkina Faso.

I performed a total of 170 free eye surgeries for the people in the village of Mango.

I was interviewed on Hope Radio in Mango to spread the word about my work to the blind people to come out and have their eye operated on.

This trip brought me so much joy watching many people going from light perception (they can not see my fingers in front of their faces but can see the blinking light of a flashlight) to being able to read the last line the next day! It was so rewarding for me!

I left Mango, Togo feeling very sad as I saw a couple of cases of crossed-eyed children, but I did not bring the equipment to perform muscle surgeries. I will come back soon to take care of those cases in 2024. The people of Mango were so welcoming, sweet, and loving. They are poor and don’t have a lot. The village has a well for water for everybody, and I often see children carrying wood on their heads while walking home after school for the family to cook their meals. I can feel their hardship. I can feel the dust in the air, the oppressive heat, the sweat on their skin, the malnutrition, the poverty, and the diseases they have to endure, yet they are also humans like us. They taught us as doctors how to function in a low-resource environment and how to give care with just the minimum amount of supplies. I gave sight back to a young girl who was becoming blind in her left eye at eight years old, and now she can see again out of that eye. She was so happy. Her parents are so happy and so grateful for our help. They thank me profusely. I hear countless stories from these patients, telling me how I don’t know them and they don’t know me, but here I am, and I am giving them back their sight and their lives. They can now return to the fields and farm to feed their families. Or they can now be independent and not depend on somebody else to care for them. They dance joyously during post op days. Singing songs of joys and clapping their hands. They are thanking me for our help but in my heart I am thanking them of the opportunity to serve them. They make my life so much more meaningful.