Meet a MedSend Alumna: Ophthalmologist Wendy Hofman
Christian ophthalmology missionaries help bring hope to communities around the world by improving both physical and spiritual sight.
“The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Matthew 11:5
In the United States, eye care is relatively easy to access. We can purchase quality sunglasses and protective eye gear at relatively low prices. In some cases, we can find these resources in our local grocery store or department store. If we need an eye doctor, we can turn to an online directory or the phone book, make an appointment, and get in to see a specialist without much wait or trouble.
However, in the developing world, it isn’t this easy.
Eyecare is often difficult to come by. Malnutrition or lack of public health infrastructure can lead to blindness. In some cases, this is a death sentence.
Dr. Wendy Hofman recognizes this reality and works as a Christian ophthalmologist in Gabon. MedSend provided funds to pay off Dr. Hofman’s loans in 2013, and she continues serving at Bongolo Eye Clinic.
What does a missionary ophthalmologist do?
According to Bongolo Eye Clinic’s website, “the eye clinic performs about 650 surgeries per year. Eighty percent of those surgeries are for cataracts, and many other surgeries are performed as well as regular eye exams, treatment of medical problems, and prescriptions for glasses.”
In addition to restoring physical sight at the clinic, Dr. Hofman shares spiritual sight as well, praying with her patients and their family members and sharing the Gospel during their visits.
How did COVID impact Dr. Hofman’s work?
COVID created challenges for the eye clinic from a surgical perspective. When the government shut down the roads, it became more difficult than normal for patients to make their way to the hospital for surgery or other eye care procedures. At the beginning of the pandemic, fewer numbers of patients were able to get to the clinic.
As more than 1,000 people in Gabon become blind each year, this was very problematic.
Will work continue throughout the pandemic?
Dr. Hofman reports a great need to continue increasing training programs at Bongolo Eye Clinic to keep up with the demand for care created both by the COVID pandemic and ongoing realities in Gabon and the surrounding region. She is excited about the opportunity to continue training local doctors and equipping them to use low-technology surgical techniques and instruments that allows more people to receive care using fewer resources.
Christian missionaries like Dr. Hofman provide important services in communities around the world. We love hearing the stories of MedSend Grant Recipients and Alumni who continue serving. Dr. Hofman joined us on Thursday, February 11 for our Virtual World Tour Zoom event. Click here to request a recording and learn more from Dr. Hofman.
Help more Christian ophthalmology missionaries and other healthcare professionals like Dr. Hofman bring compassionate healthcare and to communities around the world in need of workers. Make a tax-deductible donation to MedSend today.
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Healthcare remains the only form of access as a Christian witness in many countries.
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This blog is helpful.