The Foundation is continuing to provide eye care services to people in war-torn Afghanistan with 380 people recently treated for various eye conditions, including cataract blindness.
The week-long eye camp held in the Nangarhar province was the fifth such camp held since 2007 in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health in Afghanistan and, in the case of this most recent camp, with HealthNet.
Despite extremely cold weather conditions, 100 people received sight-restoring cataract surgery and a further 280 people were provided with minor surgery for various other eye conditions. The Fred Hollows Foundation also provided medicine and glasses to patients through the local hospital pharmacy.
Local health authorities advertised the camp and screening activities through cable TV channels, FM radio, banners hung at important locations throughout the city, and through advertisements in mosques after prayers.
Similar activities are scheduled to continue in Afghanistan throughout 2010.
The Foundation began work in Afghanistan in 2006, contributing to the five year national plan that was put in place and coordinated by the Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health.
"The success of this program shows us that even in a country as war-torn as Afghanistan, practical measures can be taken to develop medical infrastructure and improve the lives of those who are disadvantaged by avoidable blindness," said Brian Doolan, CEO of The Fred Hollows Foundation.
The Foundation works with local partners at district and community level in Nangarhar Province to serve an estimated population of over one million people. The program focuses on human resource development, ensuring local medical workers are trained to service the high demand for eye health services as well as to ensure sustainability of service delivery within the country.
Last year in Afghanistan The Foundation:
- Screened 13,981 people
- Performed 2,674 cataract operations/sight restoring interventions
- Ran eye camps and school screening camps in Nangarhar province
- Screened 2,057 children
- Provided 800 spectacles
- Provided management and clinical skills to eye care personnel
- Worked in collaboration with local partners to assess needs in Kunar Province for establishing a Community Vision Centre
- An inauguration ceremony was held for the newly upgraded eye operation theatre in the Ministry of Public Health Hospital in Jalalabad. The ceremony was attended by officials from various government departments, local people and media.
- Ran community education campaigns.