Miracle Vision, joint initiative, extolled  by local recipients
November 1, 2016
Miracle Vision, joint initiative, extolled by local recipients

A number of persons have thanked the governments of Cuba and Venezuela for collaborating with St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) through the Miracle Vision initiative that allowed for free cataract and pterygium (surfer’s eye) removal surgery.

Over the weekend, 26 local persons received free surgeries, thanks to this new phase of the programme which started here in 2015 and has so far benefitted {{more}}about 300 persons.

On Tuesday, persons on whom surgeries were performed over the weekend visited the Paediatric Annex at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) to have their eyes reviewed and a number of them spoke to the media and expressed their gratitude to the team of Venezuelan doctors.

One such person was Herman Belmar, who told reporters that he was delighted to be a representative of the programme.

He said that over a year ago, he had his right eye operated on in Venezuela as part of the programme and last Sunday he had his left eye done here.

“I am extremely grateful to Venezuela and grateful to Hugo Chavez (past Venezuela president) who started this program and his daughter who continued it and to current president (Nicolas) Maduro who has taken up the programme,” said Belmar, who stressed that the Miracle Vision has brought a healing mission to this country that has benefitted quite a number of people.

“I am extremely grateful to be able to say thanks to the various governments,” said Belmar.

Another patient, Jacqueline Williams, said that she would like to thank the doctors and countries responsible for restoring healthy eyesight to her. The Paul Over resident suffered from cataracts and she could not get the surgery without the help of Miracle Vision.

“I am very thankful to them and I wish that they are able to come many more times again to help people. I say thanks to Chavez and his daughter and president Maduro. I hope we will continue to live in peace, love and unity with one another,” said Williams.

Flavia Haynes-Howard of Calliaqua said that she was very grateful for the opportunity to receive free eye care.

“I think it is a great initiative. I will like to thank all the doctors,” said Haynes-Howard, who noted that the free surgeries helped a lot of persons who are not able to pay for a private surgery.

Lloyd Smith of Georgetown said that his surgery was successful and he felt no pain. He thanked the various governments that made the initiative a success.

Pastor Daniel Bynoe of Paget Farm also thanked the local government for collaborating, “to give such a wonderful service.”

He described the doctors as “fantastic” and very professional.

“I cannot express the gratitude in words. Thanks to those that were instrumental in orchestrating this wonderful favour. God bless Venezuela”, said Pastor Bynoe.

Speaking during the eye checks, Venezuelan Ambassador Yuri Pimentel said the programme has helped over 200,000 persons in the Caribbean, a million persons in Cuba and over six million persons overall, including persons in Latin America.

“I will like to thank the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves for being here with what we call Miracle Mission,” said Pimentel noting that the idea was conceived 11 years of ago by former president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez and former president of Cuba Fidel Castro.

He said that since then Venezuela and Cuba have worked together to give the free eye care opportunity to the people in their countries, and also persons in Latin America and Caribbean.

Pimentel said that cataracts are not very difficult to correct, but if persons are not given the opportunity to correct the issues, they lose their vision.

“That it is why it is called miracle mission, because sometimes people with cataracts couldn’t see anything and in just a few seconds, when you remove the cataracts, you recover all of your vision; so it has been a very important programme­ to us, a programme of solidarity for us,” said the Ambassador.

He said that Miracle Vision has been practised in South America, Central America, “and lot of countries in the Caribbean.”

Pimentel said that SVG was the first country in the Caribbean to experience the Miracle Vision initiative.

The 26 recent ophthalmologic surgeries were conducted here between Saturday, October 22 and Tuesday, October 25 at the MCMH.

The social programme for eye care this time around saw 15 cataract surgeries and 11 pterygium surgeries done.

Miracle Vision started in 2005, after the signing of the Sandino Commitment between Chavez and Castro.(LC)