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How far do people travel to access eye care? How far do people travel to access eye care?

How far do people travel to access eye care?

We seek help when we have a health problem. For patients who suffer from eye diseases, their lives turn from brightness to darkness. They may not be able to continue their studies or work, and may have to rely on others. Blindness also affects other family members.

Due to a lack of medical services in remote areas, patients often need to travel vast distances to reach a hospital. But the journey to access health care is not simple. Patients might not be able to afford the travel costs, while weather and geography can sometimes make transport impossible.

Living on the edge of danger

Eric from Rwanda has been blinded by cataract since birth. He lives on the side of a steep mountain and his mother worries about landslides that have the potential to take lives.

To make matters worse,  when the family  leaves their home, they have to cross a river that has no bridge. Instead, locals place a large piece of wood across the river It’s another dangerous hazard for Eric.
Samlan and Sintham, from Lao PDR were also blind from birth from cataract.  To travel to the nearest hospital, the twins have to ride in a small, narrow river boat for four hours.

要坐在小艇上 4 個小時,才能到達醫院的白內障孖仔。To get the twins to the hospital, a 4-hour boat journey is needed
There’s also 3-year-old Faith from Kenya. Faith travelled on her aunt’s back as she walked for 25 kilometers reach the hospital for cataract surgery. This is like walking  from Stanley Plaza to Tai Wai.

阿姨背著小菲菲,徒步走 25 公里到醫院求醫,後來幸得護瞳行動資助她們的交通和醫療費用。Faith’s aunt had to carry her niece and walk 25 kilometers to get to the hospital. Luckily, she later received transportation and medical funds from The Fred Hollows Foundation.


Bringing eye care to the people

Many families simply cannot afford to access eye health in hospitals. There are medical bills as well as transport and accommodation costs. Sometimes, these expenses are doubled, because family members need to accompany blind patients. While they are at the hospital, they are unable to work, placing more financial pressure on the family.  

The Fred Hollows Foundation understands how difficult it is to connect patients living in the most remote areas with the services they need. The Foundation is constantly looking for ways to reach out to these communities.
  1. Community leaders are the best "preachers." When an eye camp is confirmed, the hospital will contact the village head who will help spread the message
  2. We invite patients who have undergone eye surgeries to share their experience with the villagers
  3. We work with other disease control teams to find patients with eye diseases. When the team conduct their work they can also pass on information about eye camps and eye health knowledge.
  4. House-to-house visits can also identify potential patients with eye diseases.

The Fred Hollows Foundation has been working with partner hospitals to organise mobile eye camps and deliver door-to-door services to patients in need. By donating, you can provide more convenient medical services for people with eye diseases. Please act now.