News Release

LDS Charities Provides Vision Surgery Training and Equipment in Sierra Leone

LDS Charities Provides Sight for Thousands

As part of its Vision Care Signature Program, LDS Charities—the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—recently provided vital surgical equipment to Connaught Hospital in Freetown, dramatically improving the medical infrastructure of Sierra Leone. The charity also provided an opportunity for local medical personnel to learn and apply improved techniques for performing eye surgery.


The Church sends technical specialists around the world to increase the quality and availability of vision care in underserved communities. Dr. Ken Turley and Dr. Kyle N. Klingler, highly qualified specialists from Idaho, United States, visited Sierra Leone in December to set up the equipment and train local eye care professionals.

They provided specialized, technical training for six cataract surgeons, five optometrists and four surgical nursesby the Church included specialized ophthalmology equipment used in eye surgeries.Surgical supplies used for the 100 cataract surgeries performed on indigent patients were donated in partnership by Surgical Eye Expeditions(SEE) of Santa Barbara, California. 

Dr. Kenneth Turley thanked the many volunteers who assisted with the project, “This truly was a miraculous team effort which enabled us over two weeks to train 15 Sierra Leoneans in their respective roles, to carry out successful cataract surgery.”

“Without this new equipment and the supplies donated by SEE, Dr. Kyle Klingler and I could not have accomplished any effective training,” he said.

The doctors from LDS Charities will return for follow-up training in September 2017.

The training received by local surgeons will enable them to perform manual small incision cataract surgery (MSICS) – a newer, safer and more efficient cataract surgery that doesn’t require stitches. The optometrists were taught how to measure each patient’s eye for the proper lens implant and the nurses were instructed in many areas, including improved operating-room management and the surgical scrub routine for these new cataract-surgery techniques.

Dr. Mathew Vandy, National Eye Health Program manager, expressed thanks and appreciation on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone to the Church and to Dr. Turley and Dr. Klingler.

“With this help, we vow to conduct 100 operations free of cost to patients in need,” said Dr. Vandy, “This will go a long way to serve not only the Connaught hospital, but also the people of Sierra Leone.”

The senior matron of the Connaught hospital said, “The equipment donation is timely. It is with heartfelt appreciation that we receive this kind gesture.” She called on other partners to follow the footsteps of LDS Charities.

Christopher E. Nyalopo, second counselor in the presidency of the Freetown, Sierra Leone Stake (a group of congregations) thanked LDS Charities and local eye surgeons, asking them to continue serving those in need in whatever way they were able. He said, “Jesus Christ himself healed the blind and that is exactly what you and LDS Charities are doing here today.”


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