International Portfolio Reports

Moorfields Lions Korle Bu Trust

Lions International Eye Centre, Korle Bu, Ghana

Report to MD Convention 2023

KorleBuPID Lion Howard Lee

Moorfields Lions Korle Bu Trust Chairman

Our Very Own Sightfirst Project

In West Africa, there are around 2.6 million people known to be blind, but the actual total could be twice that figure. Whilst up to 90% of this blindness could be cured or prevented, sight services available in the region have historically been at levels only around 20% of those needed to tackle the problem. So, the most important part of our MD105 project, the Lions international Eye Centre, Korle Bu, is to provide training for ophthalmic surgeons and their teams, IN West Africa, BY West Africa, FOR West Africa. This training project is now starting to show very positive results, leading to much improve sight services throughout the region, both in terms of quality and quantity.

We Lions of MD105 continue to work with Moorfields Eye Hospital, University College London, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), West African College of Surgeons (WACS) and others to run training courses at the Lions International Eye Centre (LIEC) which we have built and equipped at Ghana's main teaching hospital in Accra. The centre provides a resource for the diagnosis, management and treatment of all eye diseases, whilst enabling specialists from across West Africa to train in a safe and high-volume surgery unit. Once trained, ophthalmologists not only put their skills to use in their place of work in West Africa, but also pass on their knowledge and skills to colleagues, disseminating expertise and helping to eliminate preventable blindness from cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and many other conditions across the region.

Without your continued support, we would not have been able to achieve this. On behalf of everyone involved in the project, thank you.

Our Eye Centre

Before the LIEC was built, the KBTH Ophthalmic Department was only able to treat around 75 patients per day. Now they can treat up to 300 patients per day. This is a massive improvement, but this is only possible if the medical teams have the necessary expertise. Therefore, our training courses are a vital component in the development of the capacity and standards necessary to improve significantly the sight services available.

Work on the development of courses is progressing very well. Courses in Medical Retina, Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy are now fully up and running, being organised almost entirely by our own local courses manager based in Accra, and staffed entirely by West African ophthalmologists whom we have trained as faculty members.

Further courses are being prepared in Oculoplastics, Paediatric Cataract and Sickle Cell Retinopathy, and should come on stream later this year.

In July of 2022, we conducted a review of our results to that date, in terms of those trained, either directly by us, or by our trainees passing on their new skills, and in terms of treatments carried out using the skills we have taught. The treatments to that stage were:

9,514 Cataract operations
2,259 Glaucoma operations
97,490 Diabetic eye disease treatments

Most excitingly, we have posted an online course introducing suitably trained medical personnel to the speciality of ophthalmic surgery, which course has so far been taken by over 250 doctors. This course is now in the curriculum for fellowship of WACS.

In addition, we have trained over 200 nurses and other staff in modern techniques in ophthalmic support services, patient flows, patient record keeping, etc.

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Moorfields House

Along with the Lions International Eye Centre, we built an accommodation block, with full catering facilities, known as Moorfields House. The original purpose of this block was to cut out the high cost of housing our students and facilitators in hotels during the courses, and it is now being used for this purpose. However, since opening it, we have found that there is great demand for space within the hospital grounds. We have rented two rooms to WACS, two rooms to World Child Cancer, and one room to Lifeline for Child Cancer, all used as offices on a long-term basis. This still leaving us sufficient bedrooms for our accommodation use. We continue to receive a good number of enquiries for accommodation space by others visiting KBTH for various reasons, and we are now making a significant surplus on Moorfield House to be ploughed back into our courses programme.

The Future Looks Great

Be in no doubt, the work we Lions are now doing, in partnership with others, is providing West Africa with sight services of a quality and quantity that could not have been envisaged before, and we are changing huge numbers of lives for the better.

Our plan is to build up the number of courses to six per year, thus providing direct training to between 20 and 24 ophthalmologists annually. All our courses now contain a "train the trainer" element, so that the skills can be passed onto many others.

We have been working on reducing the cost of courses. Over the last year we have reduced the costs from around £15,000 each to around £10,000 each. However, in the current economic climate, costs are rising again, and we must now budget for £12,000 per course.

To move towards true sustainability, we must seek local West African sources of finance. Ideas of how this can be done are being considered.

Your Help Is Needed

I am sure you will agree that our project is desperately needed, and that now it is really coming to fruition. However, it will take another three to five years to reach the level of sustainability towards which we strive. In the meantime, your continued support is vital to gain the benefits of all the hard work and resources which we Lions have committed in the past.

We should be delighted If you would like to sponsor a whole course at £12,000, or an individual student at £2,500. But donations of any size are important to us.

Please send your donations to your District Charities Treasurer clearly marked "Korle Bu".

A Huge Thank You

On behalf of everyone involved in the project, and on behalf of the many thousands of people in West Africa who are benefitting from our work, I thank you again for your kind and loyal support in the past, and I would ask you to continue that support for the next few years.

PID Lion Howard Lee

Chairman, Moorfields Lions Korle Bu Trust

8 April 2023

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Environmental Report to Convention 2023

Environmental Officer Lion Verdun Webley

Reports from the district environment officers indicate that Lions and Leos are active in many areas connected to the environment, although many clubs are still reluctant to report all that they have done.

Events have been run in many districts about the environment, and clubs have planned activities for the World Environment Day on June 5th 2023.

Throughout the year Clubs have been involved in many projects affording help, supplying information, and raising funds for environmental projects as well as supporting many school-based projects, local authority projects as well as national ones.

Some districts have taken part in Waste Against Single Use Plastics, one district reporting 127 projects and the collection of over 3,000 waste sacks full of single use plastics. All districts have been active in Litter collection throughout the year.

Tree planting has been common throughout the districts with clubs joining in the 'Queen's Canopy' appeal. Planting trees, supplying funds and young trees, working together with schools, private businesses, local councils, and national bodies, such as the Woodland Trust and the National Trust. Making bug hotels, bird boxes, bat boxes, hedgehog surveys, wetland planting, beach and woodland clean-up, as well as street clean-ups have been done in many districts. Sensory Gardens have been constructed, revised and updated in numerous districts, working with all the aforementioned groups. A joint tree planting programme has also been undertaken with clubs in Sri Lanka.

Recycling projects, lead of course by the Spectacle recycling project at Headquarters and Chichester, have included the recycling of pallets, hearing aids, blister packs, batteries, bottle tops, stamps, bras, ink cartridges, clothing, trees blown over in storms and even metal recycling from rivers and waterways by 'Magnet Fishing'. Some of the pallets and blown down trees have been supplied to sculptors, artists and other groups to enhance the environment in that area as well as making seats for people to use whilst out walking. Funds raised from these activities have all gone to related charities.

Many clubs have supplied the 'Wild Tribe Hero' book to schools, and they have proved very popular indeed. Information in the form of public meetings, digital and hard copy pamphlets regarding many subjects have been supplied. Subjects included increasing biodiversity in gardens, the countryside code, waste, climate change, rainwater collection, correct bird feeding, the importance of insects and the effects of pollution amongst others. One project still ongoing is a cycle repair event where cycles are brought to the event and repairs effected. This brought to the attention of the public the use of an alternative means of transport, its positive effect on health and the environment and the fun to be had.

Action on waste has been emphasised in many districts, with special attention given to food waste, and diverting some of the still useable food normally thrown out by supermarkets and others to distribution centres, local food clubs, community larders and foodbanks. One very effective activity, which is still expanding is Gleaning in all its forms. The most obvious development has been the expansion of gleaning from farms and gardens. Lions and helpers glean where farmers and owners allow the teams to pick and collect vegetables and fruit which would otherwise be unused and perhaps ploughed back into the land. This has been very effective and is still expanding quickly allowing hunger to be alleviated in many areas of need. A few clubs even offer cooking lessons to many reluctant to use fresh food. It enables them to make full use of the nutritious items gleaned and supplied free to those attending, often a life changing experience for some.

This indicates that Lions Clubs throughout MD105 are involved with all matters connected to the environment, innovating, and developing according to the needs of their areas; as well as showing their concern for the planet and its future. Sharing what we do with each other will make us even more effective.

Lion Verdun Webley MJF

MD Environment Officer