Afghan culture has existed for over two thousand years and is imbued with tradition and history. While the country was once an important strategic crossroad along the Silk Road between Asia and the Middle East, decades of war have left it in ruins.
After two decades of violence, Afghanistan’s health system has largely been destroyed.
One-third of young children are underweight and only half of the population has access to a safe water supply.
The vast majority of Afghanis have limited access to eye care services as 87% of the ophthalmic workforce is based in major cities and only 13% in rural areas.
The Foundation began work in Afghanistan in 2006, contributing to the Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health’s five-year national plan.
We are working with local partners to incorporate eye care into primary health care systems and to develop secondary eye care centres at provincial and district levels.
We focus on training so that local medical workers can service the high demand for eye health services, making the eye care system sustainable.
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
- Brian Doolan, CEO
Despite difficult security conditions, working with our local partners The Foundation continued to deliver sight-saving work in Afghanistan in 2013.
Together with our partners we achieved the following results:
- Examined the eyes of 74,789 people and conducted over 9,000 eye operations and treatments; this included 642 cataract operations. We also screened tens of thousands of school students for refractive error and distributed 2,842 pairs of glasses.
- Trained 1,389 teachers and community health workers. As a result, tens of thousands of students were screened and hundreds were provided with glasses.
- Trained two clinic support staff
- Renovated and equipped the Outpatient Department and Operating Theatre of the University Eye Hospital in Kabul, in preparation to train doctors and eye care workers.
- Donated $59,195 worth of equipment
About the program
Around 465,000 people in Afghanistan are blind, with a high incidence of cataract and trachoma – diseases that are largely treatable and/or preventable.
The Foundation works with local partners at district and community level in Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman provinces to serve a population of over two million people.
We are training surgeons in the latest Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) techniques, training paramedics to become ophthalmic technicians, training refractionists to improve their skills and capacity, and training hospital staff in project management.
We have established a Community Vision Centre (CVC) in Kunar Province in addition to the fully functional eye units in Nangarhar and Laghman Provinces, working with partners to provide essential and quality eye care services.
We also support or run free eye camps and school screening camps where students and members of the public are provided with glasses where necessary, operated on, or referred on for further treatment.