Yeovil Hospital has announced its donation of a slit-lamp microscope to healthcare charity
Aid Fund, supporting big improvements in safe and effective eye care in rural Kenya, where the charity runs a healthcare clinic that serves over 25,000 local inhabitants
AAF is an independent charity based in south Somerset set up with the aim of enabling access to essential healthcare for the poorest rural communities in eastern Kenya, with volunteer healthcare professionals from the UK taking trips to the African country to share their expertise.

The key piece of equipment is essential for the diagnosis of numerous diseases prevalent in the region where the charity is based. The microscope requires little energy to run and is therefore ideal for use in this area, which has limited access to electricity.

Simon Frackiewicz, optometrist at Yeovil Hospital, became a Trustee of AAF in 2011 having volunteered with the charity since 2007 and has made several volunteering trips to the country in this time. He said, “While you may not be familiar with the name of this piece of equipment, if you have ever visited an optician in the UK you will have been examined using one – it is absolutely vital apparatus for the diagnosis of most eye diseases.

Before the microscope was donated, we used head torches and small hand-held microscopes, which was useful for some purposes but made many diagnoses and procedures very difficult. Now, our local ophthalmic clinical officer, Jane, has what she needs to give quality eye care to every patient.

I was amazed at the can-do attitude shown by Yeovil Hospital staff around this donation – how quickly it all happened! Thanks once again to the hospital for making this possible. It has made a significant difference to the quality of eye care in this remote corner of Kenya”.

Jane, the ophthalmic clinical officer at the Akamba Health Centre, said she was “amazed by the quality of the equipment compared to many of the larger hospitals in Kenya”.

The apparatus is a much-needed addition to AAF’s latest project, which is the construction of an eye clinic in the heart of the region. Trustees are in the process of handing the facility over to the local community in order to provide regular access to eye care.

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