Plans are underway to expand The Fred Hollows Foundation’s activities in Rwanda to tackle cataract in two remote districts near the Congo border.

An estimated 2,000 people in Rutsiro and Karongi districts are blind, but eye health services are very poor. There are no ophthalmologists and only two eye nurses to serve the entire community. 

More than half the population live below the poverty line and most people survive on subsistence farming. Congolese people crossing the border seeking medical care place an additional burden on the already under-resourced local hospitals.

It is essential that eye health services are brought closer to the isolated people of Rutsiro and Karongi. While a road now connects the districts with the country’s capital, Kigali, 4WD vehicles are needed to travel through most areas because of the steep hills and poor access off the main roads. During the wet season, it is even difficult to travel by foot, making it nearly impossible for local people to reach a hospital in the capital for sight-restoring eye surgery. 

With your support, The Fred Hollows Foundation will begin work to increase cataract treatment rates in the districts. The Foundation will also support the training of skilled eye care workers to treat basic eye conditions like conjunctivitis, and prescribe glasses to both children and adults. 

In the long term, a full range of services are planned for Rutsiro and Karongi, including treatment for glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. This will be achieved through a boost to the number of eye health workers and delivery of vital hospital infrastructure and medical equipment.

Learn more about The Foundation's Rwanda program.