During the week of August 15-23, 2017, volunteers with Israel’s Eye from Zion humanitarian organization held an “eye camp” in Chuka, Kenya. They received 723 patients in three locations, from infants to senior citizens, performing free treatments and surgeries – 85 percent of the surgeries to remove cataracts and 10% to correct astigmatism.

Medical personnel volunteering for this mission came from Western Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Bnai Zion Medical Center, Ma’ayan Clinic and Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa and Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.

Participants also lay the groundwork for an advanced eye clinic at Chuka Regional Hospital in memory of Hovav Nuttman, CEO of Israeli medical equipment supplier Alpha Net, who was a volunteer in charge of all the technical aspects for Eye from Zion missions to many countries. He passed away two months after returning from the organization’s first mission to Chuka in 2016.

Dr. Modi Naftali operating on a patient in Kenya, aided by mission manager Ilanit Litay and a local nurse. Photo courtesy of Eye from Zion

Eye from Zion and Alpha Net donated supplies for the mission and for the clinic, including surgical and lab equipment and medications.
Two Kenyan medical officers were trained to use the equipment, the hospital’s technical staff learned how to maintain the machinery and three nurses received training in surgical assistance. Additional equipment will be brought on a future visit.

“The local medical staff does not include an ophthalmologist or anyone with surgical skills,” said Eye from Zion founder Nati Marcus. “We met a young doctor, currently a resident in ophthalmology in Nairobi and due to arrive at Chuka hospital in 2019. We suggested that she come to Chuka next year to work with our future missions so when she will start her position she will have more experience in surgeries.”

Meanwhile, Eye from Zion will continue sending specialists periodically to Chuka in the next two years and the Israeli doctors will be available as consultants to the Kenyan staff over the Internet.

Mission sponsors included David Solomon of Texas, Google, the Nuttman family and several medical supply companies. The Israel Foreign Ministry, its MASHAV Agency for International Development Cooperation, and the Israeli Embassy in Nairobi helped with the transfer and storage of the supplies.