As Cambodia recovers from 30 years of civil war, 85% of the population lives in rural areas and more than a third survive on less than $1/day. Medical and social services are nonexistent for the majority of the population. Diseases like preventable blindness make it very challenging, if not impossible, for many working age people to contribute to the economic growth and recovery of the country.
The Cambodian government is unable to address the problem of preventable and treatable blindness without external assistance. The country lacks hospital equipment and resources; with only 10 ophthalmologists in the entire country, they are also in sore need of qualified health personnel.
Your donation will help employ an ophthalmic nurse and field workers through the 20/20 Vision Project in Banteay Meanchey Province. The G Adventures 20/20 Vision Project is expected to screen and treat over 2000 people annually through screening camps and outpatient services, 1000 people will be treated with surgeries at the clinic and through surgery camps, and over 13,000 children will be screen each year.
Poverty in this province is high, with 34% of families unable to meet the basic income to purchase food, shelter, clothing, health and education. Over 80% of families do not live with basic sanitation, and over 72% do not have access to safe drinking water (compared to the country average of 34%).
Since the implementation of this program in January 2013, 876 surgeries have been completed, 565 of which have been cataract surgeries. These funds have allowed the centre to triple the capacity and number of surgeries preformed in six months.
Due to the extreme shortage of healthcare resources and personnel required to treat eye care problems, an estimated 12,500 Cambodians in the northern province of Banteay Meanchey suffer from preventable blindness. Cataracts account for 69% of Cambodia’s preventable blindness, and current estimates suggest that the country’s backlog of cataract cases exceeds 80,000 people, mostly women, with an additional 19,000 new cases being reported each year.
Other major causes of blindness in the region include uncorrected refractive errors, glaucoma, corneal scars and pterygium (a skin-like growth over the eye). 80%-90% of these cases are preventable or treatable when people have access to eye care facilities for early detection.
In response to this issue, G Adventures, through Planeterra, has funded the 20/20 Vision Project with donations from corporate partners and travelers in Cambodia. The vision ward is staffed by ophthalmic nurses, assistants and field workers, and is equipped with essential equipment for examining and treating basic eye conditions.