Today we celebrate International Women’s Day with the theme, “#EachForEqual – an equal world is an enabled world.” We join the global community in challenging stereotypes that hinder women from contributing to their communities. When we enable everyone to reach their full potential, it’s not only women that benefit, but the whole of society. Let me share this recent story from Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital – Eye Center:
“Oh thank you, praise the Lord! Merry Christmas! Oh wow, you are all beautiful and handsome!”
These were the first words that 67-year old Wilsona uttered when her eye patches were removed last December at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital – Eye Center. Wilsona was overjoyed when she saw the world clearly again. Shortly after, she started singing Christmas carols for everyone.Likewise, her daughter Fedilita can’t contain her joy. “I am so thankful especially to God because her vision has restored.” Wilsona started having complications with her vision more than a year ago. Fedilita is Wilsona’s only child. Fedilita carried most of the burden when her mother’s vision deteriorated. A widowed mother of three, Fedilita works a number of jobs to provide for her children and mother. “It was quite difficult for me especially at home because my mother needs to be assisted with many things, such as going to the toilet. I’m also a widow, so my time is divided among my children, my mother, and my work,” Fedilita said. With Wilsona’s vision back, she can now lead a more independent life and spend more time with her grandchildren. “Everything is perfect, and the results are good. We are very happy,” Fedilita said.
Vision impairment does not discriminate. It prevents people from living an independent life and can place extra responsibilities on family members like Fedilita who struggles to find a balance between being a mother, provider, and carer. Restoring one’s vision empowers the patient, and the people around her. As eye doctors, it is our mission to provide quality eye services to all genders and backgrounds – not just on International Women’s Day, but all year round.
The surgery was made possible through The Fred Hollows Foundation, in partnership with the Department of Health and the support of the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).