The cataract disease, which causes blindness if not treated, is seen generally among elderly people in Turkey. However, it is seen widely around the world as a result of inadequate nutrition, long-term exposure on intense light and eye traumas alongside of age. Millions of people lose their eyesight because of the technical and financial impossibilities, and they continue to live dependent on others.
With the slogan "If you see them, they will see the world", IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation began to the project of cataract surgeries in Africa in 2007 and had reached the target of 100,000 in 2017. Within the scope of this project, 100,000 cataract surgeries were carried out in 10 years with the help and support of benefactors and tens of thousands of people were able to see again in a healthy way. The project was implemented in 14 countries, including Sudan, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Mali, Chad, Uganda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Niger, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Somalia.
Project reached Asia
With the launch in 2017, IHH carried out in total 11,238 operations in 2018 with the Cataract Project that launched to the world outside of Africa. Surgeries were made predominantly in Asian countries; Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Niger, Ethiopia and Mali. Thousands of people regained their sight with surgery. The cataract project became also a training program for doctors and health professionals in the region. The operations were performed for a small fee like 500 TL. Together with the operations made in 2018, the number of surgeries carried out by IHH in 17 countries since 2007 has reached 114,433 and field survey has reached 726,222.
Thanks to the people of Turkey
IHH Cataract Coordinator Yasin Bakır shared his experiences during their visits of states in order to perform the surgeries and said that cataract patients who began to see after many years would like to thank to Turkish people. Yasin Bakır continued as follows:
“We have witnessed that people brought his/her mother- father or his/her child 150 kilometers away to undergo surgery. Those who heard that we are operating unrequitedly in the region were hastily set off since they could not be operated with their own means. They cannot believe they see our doctors because this was an opportunity they haven't found before. They question saying 'How can it be free? ’ After the surgery, they thank to Turkish people for their charitable contributions. To be more precise, they don't know how to thank, how to express their gratitude.
For example, we went to a region once for Qurban or Ramadan aids, I do not remember exactly. An uncle came and said that 'thanks to you, my eyes opened two years ago. May Allah bless you.' Hereby, let us convey the greetings and thanks of the oppressed people to all our brothers and sisters who conduce to charity. ”
15,000 surgeries target in 2019
In case of receiving bequest in 2019 too, IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation aims to carry out 15,000 surgeries in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Mali, Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia.