New Sight Eye Care Delivers COVID-19 Relief Supplies to Ouesso
OUESSO (20 August 2020) Mr Gilbert Mouanda-Mouanda, Préfet of La Sangha, took delivery of a donation of relief supplies designated for La Sangha today by the charity New Sight Eye Care to support the national battle with coronavirus.
Dr Joyce Samoutou-Wong and Henri Samoutou, founders of New Sight, said, “We are thankful that the delivery was successful. Our hope is to do what we can for the community to respond against COVID-19. New Sight stands with La Sangha and Congo in the fight against COVID-19.”
New Sight’s shipment from Hong Kong to Ouesso consists of 27 boxes of COVID-19 relief supplies, of the market value of USD42,200 (over 23 million CFA), containing the following items for the first shipment from Hong Kong to La Sangha:
- 100 digital infrared thermometers with batteries
- 28 oxygen pulse oximeters with batteries
- 20,000 pieces of reusable face masks
- 20,000 copies of instruction on proper mask wearing
- 20 face shields
New Sight has been serving the Congo since 2012. The NGO started in Impfondo and extended its eye services from Impfondo to Ouesso in 2019 to continue its mission to restore sight to the blind and sight-impaired, New Sight’s second eye clinic in Ouesso serve around 200 patients a month. With the support of the local authorities, New Sight is planning to build a teaching eye hospital in Ouesso to offer comprehensive services to the whole country. New Sight has also been training community health agents.
Before the nationwide confinement in mid-March, the New Sight team helped the community to prepare and respond to a potential epidemic. The team focused on helping people to prevent the spread of the virus to keep themselves and others safe in the following actions:
- Over 12,000 leaflets and posters were produced and distributed to educate people about the virus and how it spreads, and about how to wear face masks correctly.
- The New Sight students wrote and produced a song together with the local basketball team “The Black Panthers” in Lingala, aimed at educating local people on how to protect themselves and avoid spreading the virus. This song was played on radio and TV stations across Congo.
- The team designed face masks with instructions to teach local tailors how to make them using African fabric.
- Essential supplies were provided to the Ouesso prison and the local Catholic mission.
- The Samoutou family wrote and performed a radio play in English and French to educate people about COVID-19. This has been played on radio stations across the country.
- Seminars were given to local church leaders and interviews were held on radio stations to educate about COVID-19.
After confinement was lifted, to support the Ouesso community, New Sight purchased the following from local traders and donated to the Préfet and the La Sangha Commission for the Fight Against COVID-19:
- 5,000 fabric masks were made locally in Ouesso and donated to all the students sitting exams and market traders in Ouesso.
- 108 buckets and basin-and-soap systems were made and shipped from Brazzaville to ensure that all the classrooms and offices of public schools in Ouesso would have access to such a hand-washing system.
With the current delivery of relief supplies to be distributed among the community, New Sight hopes to bolster the official and public efforts already in place to fight COVID-19.
“The people of La Sangha hold a warm place in the hearts of the New Sight team, volunteers and international staff,” said Dr Samoutou-Wong, who is also a member of the La Sangha Commission, appointed by the Préfet of La Sangha. “We look forward to continuing our support of the community through eyecare services and other ways, because we are part of this community.”
The donation was made in the presence of Mr. Emmanuel AKOUELAKOUM (President of the Departmental Council), Mr. Abel SIDOBE GAH (President of the City Council, Mayor of Ouesso), and Mr. Albert MBOUNGOU KIMBOUALA (Departmental Secretary General). The supplies were given to Mr. Poaty OBOUKA PAYAS, the Acting Departmental Director of Health, to be distributed among the people and medical clinics of La Sangha.
Local TV coverage of the event by RTV Ouesso – Canal Ouesso
About New Sight Eye Care
Joyce and Henri Samoutou founded the charity New Sight Eye Care because they are passionate about giving the priceless gift of sight. Eighty percent of those who are blind or visually impaired are suffering needlessly, because although there are proven, cost-effective solutions to prevent or treat blindness, these solutions are sadly not available to many places. In 2012, the Samoutou family moved to Impfondo to pioneer the first non-profit eye surgical centre. New Sight provided eyecare, glasses, surgery, training, screening and community health education. It was able to conduct over 10,000 consultations, provide screening and health promotion programs for the entire Likouala region. New Sight also trained eye personnel who have been running the self-sufficient clinic since 2017.
In 2019, the New Sight team moved to Ouesso to open the second eye centre. With the support of the Minister of Health and local authorities, it now serves around 200 patients a month. New Sight is preparing to build an eye hospital, and before then, it is serving the community through this clinic. This temporary clinic is located at the CSI Nzalangoye (Tel: 06 693 79 30 / 05 780 10 27). The teaching hospital in Ouesso, when completed, will serve Congo, and many neighbouring countries. New Sight has also started a training program.
Eyecare has been shown as the most cost-effective health intervention to alleviate poverty. When sight is restored, lives are transformed – not just for the patients, but for their families and the whole community.
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