Blindness is a significant public health issue in Cambodia. It is estimated that over 160,000 people are blind in Cambodia and an additional 20,000 become blind each year. The main cause of blindness is cataract, which can be treated by a simple 15 minute operation at an average cost of $35 (AUD).
The Fred Hollows Foundation began supporting remote eye units in three provinces of Cambodia in 2000. They include Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang and Neak Leoung.
Approximately 5,800 cataract surgeries have been performed during this time across these provinces. Surgeries are possible because the cost is subsidised by The Fred Hollows Foundation.
The generous donation from Footprints in March 2007, directly contributed to further 200 people receiving sight-restoring cataract surgery in the period February to April 2007.
This funding from World Nomads covered the costs of surgery which includes:
- transportation for patients to reach the 3 eye units
- staff costs (salaries and admin costs)
The Cambodian people who have benefited from this sight-restoring surgery are now able to lead healthy, independent and dignified lives. With the restoration of sight comes renewed happiness and real hope for the future.
When a family member who has been dependent on others regains their sight, this in turn allows carers to be able to return to work or perhaps to school. Hence cataract surgeries for 200 people in fact impacts a far greater number than this, in a positive way. No longer do carers have to stay at home, unable to work. They also regain their independence and are able to rejoice in the miracle that is the gift of sight. The case study below gives a good insight into this fact.
PATIENT CASE STUDY
Mr Pa Kimsan is 56 years old. His education level is equivalent to Year 3 but he can read. He has two sons, Sat who is 22 years old and O who is 20 years old and also two daughters, Srey Toch who is a 7 years old and 5 year old Leakena. Pa Kimsan's wife is a farmer and housekeeper who helps her husband in the daily chores at home.
Photo: mr Pa Kimsan after his cataract surgery
Pa Kimsan owns half a hectare of land plus another 1 hectare block of land which he leases. He has three cows and a modern motor bike.
Mr Kimsan is a carpenter who has made his living building chairs, tables and simple housing for the local community.
With progressive eye health problems including a cataract in one eye, Pa Kimsan had to stop working and could no longer ride his motorbike. Following screening and treatment organised by The Fred Hollows Foundation, Pa Kimsan received sight-restoring surgery and notes he is "very fond of this result because I can see and work again".
Mr Kimsan added that he was also satisfied with the eye care he received as it was "free of charge, the health staff took care of the patients and hospital hygiene was good. The hospital was a convenient place to stay and had food for the patients"
Pa Kimsan feels very happy and "reborn" having had his sight restored. He can work again, increasing the family's rice cultivation, and can participate in community development activities including returning to his position as a member of the school committee. Pa Kimsan is also building a new toilet for his family.
(Update posted 07 August 2007.)
Cambodia is a country where blindness remains one of the major health and social problems, because of long-term turmoil and an inadequate eye care system.
The Fred Hollows Foundation’s program in Cambodia has two aims:
Firstly, to increase the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology in order to build local capacity to provide eye care services and prevent and treat avoidable blindness at national, provincial and village level.
Secondly, the program aims to alleviate poverty through restoring sight to the blind particularly in poor rural communities.
The program involves:
1. Support for the national blindness prevention body to improve their skills in planning and managing eye care in Cambodia.
2. Training of doctors, nurses, rural health centre staff and village volunteers.
3. Outreach screening activities for three eye units in Kompong Thom, Neak Loeung (Prey Veng) and Kompong Chhnang.
4. A patient subsidy fund which has been established to help the most economically disadvantaged patients get access to good quality eye surgery.
The subsidy represents 200 cataract surgeries at AUD$35 per surgery. This amount covers the cost of the intraocular lens & other consumables, supplements the doctor’s salary, contributes to hospital utilities (electricity, medicines) and provides some assistance to help patients pay for transport to the clinic.
Your donation will be used to assist this part of the program. In raising $7,000 Footprints will give over 100 people living in remote and rural areas in Cambodia the gift of sight. Your kind contribution will give them the opportunity to live a healthy, independent and dignified life.
How was it this funded?
Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.
- World Nomads UK
The Fred Hollows Foundation is a non-government organisation, established in 1992. The Foundation works with local partners to end avoidable blindness and as a result of work completed to date, more than 1,000,000 people have had their sight restored. Following in Fred Hollows’ footsteps, The Foundation is committed to improving the health outcomes of Indigenous Australians. With your help, we are making a difference the world can see!