IHH continues to assist with cataract surgery in Africa for this coming year. With the slogan “if you see them, they will see you”, the cataract project in Africa has been responsible for 76,045 cataract surgeries to date and is now preparing for further surgeries during the month of March.
Within the scope of the project named as “100,000 Eye Operations in Africa”, while 1,509 of the operations will be performed by Charity and Development Association and Fitsum Birhan Hospital in Ethiopia, 1,000 of them will be carried out by Zamzam Foundation in Somalia. Moreover, 1,000 eye operations in Tanzania and Uganda and also 500 in Mali and Mozambique will be conducted by Sightsaver, as the River Poor Charity Organization will provide 500 operations in Sudan.
Widespread cataract problems in Africa
The lack of medical care and access to facilities has resulted in advanced cases of cataract for many and highlights the high number of the younger generation that has cataracts. Somalia is known as the main center where surgeries take place however with poor nutrition combined with excessive exposure to sunlight with no eye protection has resulted in blindness and therefore cataract is the leading cause of blindness in Somalia. Dealing with government instability, internal fighting and drought means that many Somalians have never seen a doctor in their lifetime. With a country that has limited number of eye surgeons many either do not have the the opportunity to ever be seen by an eye surgeon or have financial capacity for the surgery.
Ten million visually impaired people in Africa
There are more than ten million visually impaired people throughout Africa and the reality is that half of these are a direct result of cataracts. Poor nutrition, inadequate vitamins and minerals, excessive exposure to direct sunlight (direct exposure to ultraviolet sunlight absorbed by the lens) are factors that have contributed to the high number of cataracts in Africa. The lack of medical care raises this number by 600,000 people every year.
While Ethiopia has 500,000 cataract cases, 50,000 people are added to this statistic each year. With a population of 83 million people, Ethiopia has only 200 ophthalmologists. Those who reside in the desert or rural areas have an incredibly difficult time gaining access to these doctors. Nearly fifty percent of blindness in the country are a direct result of cataracts. The IHH African Cataract Project not only provides financial aid but also sends teams of voluntary doctors and transfers medical equipment as support.
Although the cost of surgery changes from country to country, the average cost of a single cataract eye surgery is 200 Turkish Lira. Donations assist those who can have their vision restored.
Donation for campaign
You can contribute to the IHH Africa Project through various ways:
1. You can visit the IHH office and pay in person.
2. Donate online (https://online.ihh.org.tr/en/cataract)
3. Transfer directly to our bank account, details are on our website.