Five Saudi ophthalmologists have come back home after spending 10 days performing 515 free eye surgeries in the northern Nigerian city of Katsina. According to the Kingdom’s Center for International Communication, the doctors who were accompanied by a Saudi medical convoy stayed in Nigeria from February 20 to March 2 at a medical camp organized in cooperation with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth.
Every day from 7 am to 8 pm, the five doctors – Samir Al Mansouri, Ra’id Al Umair, Saeed Al Qahtani, Omar Al Abbasi and Said Al Wadaani – attended to patients. They operated on impoverished patients whose blindness resulted from a lack of care stemming from insufficient means and resources, and they counselled them on post-operative care as well.
Dr. Al Wedaani, one of the team members and an assistant professor at King Saud University’s Faculty of Medicine, said “that the initial plan called for conducting around 400 surgeries, but that the team decided to do more – despite a lack of resources – in the face of the overwhelming response from the local population.”
Their efforts have been celebrated across social media platforms, with many commenters calling for similar camps in other parts of Nigeria, as well as in Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom has worked on humanitarian relief and aid for decades and is today one of the world’s largest donors. In fact, according to a 2017 article on Al Arabiya English, Saudi Arabia was stated as the global leader of contributions for humanitarian causes on the basis of a percentage of GDP.
The Kingdom’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre in particular “is on the forefront of humanitarian outreach throughout the globe. To date it has provided humanitarian and development aid to more than 37 countries, which stretch from Central America to East Asia, from West Africa to Southeastern Europe, and obviously from the Middle East to Central and South Asia.”