As schools across the U.S. begin the new academic year, we celebrate the lives of patients whose educational path was directly impacted by surgical care received.
Aug 30, 2016
It’s back-to-school season in the U.S. but in places like Africa, all too often, this opportunity is denied to children like Unida.
Unida and William’s Story
Two years ago William, a working father in Madagascar, was providing for his wife and young son. After developing cataracts in four short months, he lost his ability to see. Unable to work, William had to rely on his five-year-old son, Unida, who could not attend school because he had to stay home to gude his blind father. However, Unida and William's life was dramatically changed thanks to the partnership between Mercy Ships and Alcon.
William, desperate to be the provider for his family once again, visited the Africa Mercy for a free surgery to remove the cataract from his right eye. With support from Alcon, the dedicated eye care professionals with Mercy Ships were able to remove the very dense cataract in William's eye.
Just 24 hours after his operation on the Africa Mercy, the bandage was removed, and William saw his son for the first time in two years. "I can see my son," he exclaimed. Then looking around the room with a smile on his face he said, "I can see all of you, too!"
Over the last 30 years, Mercy Ships has restored site to thousands in Africa with free eye surgery supported by Alcon. William can now count himself among those people, and return to providing for his family and Unida was able to return to school.
Mercy Ships and Alcon: A Partnership that Spans More Than 25 Years
Mercy Ships, a faith-based global charity established in 1978, serves the poorest of the poor in the developing world through hospital ships invited by host nations to serve the dire needs of their population. The Mercy Ship, Africa Mercy, has five fully equipped operating rooms with two of them dedicated to ophthalmic education for the Alcon Fellowship Training Program.
Alcon and Mercy Ships have partnered together for more than 25 years to work toward a shared goal of eliminating preventable blindness. Our partnership has led to the creation of sustainable programs that meet the eye care needs of thousands of people in western Africa.
Through the donation of innovative products and support with cash funding, Alcon has enabled the Mercy Vision program to expand into 14 countries on two continents, reaching even more people in need. The Alcon Fellowship Training Program has enabled Mercy Ships doctors to provide hundreds of hours of training to local surgeons. In turn, the Alcon Fellows have been able to share what they have learned with other local surgeons, thus broadening the impact of Mercy Ships' initiatives in meeting the eye care needs of the people of western Africa.