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Necessit and Limits of Cornea Transplantation in Africa

Herz E.,
Acha Augenklinik Bafoussam (Bafoussam)

The most important cause of blindness in Africa is the cataract disease. Cornea opacities are therefore often not accepted for surgery. Additionally the problem of cornea transplantation in Africa is not easy to solve because cornea transplants are not available. A small number of patients was travelling to Europe or to Kenia to underwent the keratoplasty procedure. In March of the year 2002 a team of the university eye clinic of Halle visited the eye clinic of Baffoussam in Cameroon. The team was consisting of six members – two ophthalmic surgeons, two anaesthetists, one nurse of the operation theatre and one technician. It was considered to perform cornea transplantations in any special cases. Because of ethical and Legal causes it was not possible to explant transplants from cameroonian peoples ore to bring donor transplants from Germany. The Lions Eye Bank of Seattle (USA) donated six transplants to perform the first keratoplasties in this region. Four people of the six patients were children our young patients suffering from severe keratonkonus. In one case the patient was suffering from a bullous keratopathy on his last eye. In the other patient - a young wife - suffering for a long time from a severe mycotic ulcer, a keratoplasty a chaud was necessary. In the first cases of cornea transplantation in Cameroon it was necessary to adapt the procedures to the conditions in this country. Together with the cameroonian colleagues all the six procedures were performed successfully. It is to conclude, that after a careful preparation cornea transplantations in Africa are possible. It is necessary to proof the indication for cornea transplantation very carefully. Addidionally the postoperative treatment after keratoplasty has to be organised exactly by the local colleagues. After training step by step the local colleagues could perform keratoplasty procedures themselves in carefully separated cases. Then this possibility of treatment could be done not only in rich people.