Hundreds of families living in one of Kathmandu’s poorest slums have had their eyes screened by The Foundation’s partner in Nepal, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology.
As part of Tilganga's regular screenings of vulnerable communities, an eye health team recently visited the slum community of Manohara, a 10-minute drive from Kathmandu city.
There are 73 slum settlements in and around the Kathmandu Valley. Manohara, situated beside a river of the same name, is one of the biggest.
Manohara is home to about 600 families. They are part of the influx of people from rural Nepal migrating to cities to seek work. Some have been displaced by past conflicts or natural disasters.
More than half of the families lined up on a Saturday for a free check-up conducted by the team from Tilganga.
Of those screened, 58 people were found to have refractive errors (the need for glasses).
Seven people were diagnosed with cataracts
. They have been asked to present for sight-restoring surgery at Tilganga's headquarters in Kathmandu in the near future.
One of those who attended the screening was 59-year-old Dambar Bahadur Magar. As an 18-day-old baby, Dambar's head was burnt on an open kitchen fire. The accident resulted in the loss of his right eye. He now wears large dark glasses to cover the injury.
Dambar has never sought treatment for this injury before. While his sight can't be restored, Tilganga health workers at the screening encouraged him to make an appointment with the hospital's Oculoplastic Clinic to discuss cosmetic surgery, which would make him less self conscious about his appearance.
The United Nations estimates around one million people live in slums worldwide. The figure is expected to grow to two billion by 2030 due to rising populations in urban areas.
The Foundation has a long history in Nepal, a country that was close to the heart of Professor Fred Hollows. His friend and colleague Dr Sanduk Ruit heads up Tilganga, which The Foundation has been working with to treat and prevent cataract blindness since 1994.
While the program has been very successful cataract blindness is still a significant problem for thousands of people in both rural and urban Nepal.
Learn more about our work in Nepal