A Higher Vision With Mercy Ships

Dr. Abram Wodome comes from a family of 16 brothers and sisters. Growing up in Togo, West Africa as the youngest child of such a large family, Dr. Wodome’s dream of becoming a doctor seemed financially impossibility. But despite the struggle, Dr. Wodome’s passion to help people overcame the trials he faced, and he succeeded in achieving his dream.

After working as a general physician, Dr. Wodome learned about the serious need for ophthalmologists in Togo. “It is said that Togo has around 30,000 people suffering blindness from cataracts. This number is too high! We need to help people care for their eyes,” he explained. After receiving basic training in Guinea, Dr. Wodome traveled through Mali, Benin, and the Ivory Coast to further develop his skills.

In 2010, Dr. Wodome made contact with Dr. Glenn Strauss, an eye surgeon volunteering with Mercy Ships, and he was admitted into the Alcon Fellowship Program onboard the Africa Mercy. “With Mercy Ships, I am serving God by treating people,” Dr. Wodome said.

Dr. Strauss trained Dr. Wodome in a revolutionary technique of cataract removal. This new procedure allows for quicker surgery times and cheaper surgeries. “With this new procedure, I can remove a cataract in less than 10 minutes. That means we are winning in time, and we can increase the number of surgeries in a day,” Dr. Wodome explains.  In fact, with a well-trained team, he can now complete 25 surgeries a day.

The Alcon Fellowship Program has a long-standing impact. A doctor trained in the new procedure will, in turn, train other doctors after Mercy Ships leaves the country.

Dr. Wodome is now training new doctors — just like Dr. Strauss taught him. “This is very important to me because I cannot keep this technique to myself. We have a challenge according to the number of people needing surgery. In order to obtain the objectives of this program — providing more surgery — we need to have several surgeons doing the same techniques with the same quality,” he declared.

As Dr. Wodome trains new surgeons, he is implementing the techniques he has learned throughout his journey with Mercy Ships and their partnership with Alcon. He believes strongly in the support and friendship Mercy Ships has provided to local surgeons, and his dream is that “together we can conquer blindness.”

“I will never stop giving thanks…not only for me as the doctor, but for people who we’ve healed.”