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Project report

Reduce Avoidable Blindness in the Philippines Philippines , RUN BY: The Fred Hollows Foundation | STATUS: COMPLETED

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 20,011

Raised from 6,477 people

Project Background

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,641 islands with a population of more than 107 million people. Avoidable blindness affects roughly 600,000 Filipino people. Cataract is the leading cause of blindness, with new cases overwhelming the current health system. 

Those suffering from avoidable blindness live mostly in impoverished areas and under-serviced islands, with limited access to even the most basic eye care. Sadly, the majority of eye health services are based in the capital, Manila, making them unaffordable and inaccessible to many. 

Project Objectives

The Foundation is committed to improving community eye care by making services more accessible across 4 provinces. Through this project, The Foundation will establish or equip provincial eye centers and work with local eye health teams to deliver outreach eye care to remote and regional areas, including in schools.  

Project Results

Results from the first quarter of 2019 are showing great progress. With your support, The Foundation has achieved the following out-puts between January and March 2019:

  • 17 surgeries and treatments performed and 76 glasses distributed for visual impairment 
  • 986 people screened 
  • 3 ophthalmic nurses trained 

The Foundation is on target to screen 5,400 community members, including school children, perform 180 sight restoring surgeries and train as many as 3,200 community health workers and eye health professionals. 

Case Study: Constancia

The Foundation has made waves on the surfing island of Siargao, southern Philippines. Local residents – from fisher-folk to surfers and older people – had their eyes checked at four eye screenings that were held across the island.

One of those eager to have her eyes checked was 84-year-old Constancia. Life hasn’t always been kind to Constancia; she has been widowed three times and now lives alone in a small wooden house. She receives support from a local co-operative and makes ends meet by cleaning houses and occasionally some of the island’s resorts.

Constancia has cataract in her right eye, limiting her ability to work and care for herself. She is looking forward to taking more cleaning jobs once she can see again.

Although she can’t remember exactly when her vision started deteriorating, Constancia does remember crossing to the mainland 20 years ago, to have her left eye operated on.

But despite that successful operation, Constancia still practices lo-cal medicinal beliefs, extracting the sap of a special weed known locally as tawa-tawa. She drops the sap to her right eye, believing it will melt away the cataract.

Unfortunately, the herbal medication has done nothing to improve her condition and she is hopeful that The Foundation will help give her the sight-saving operation she needs.

Two of Constancia’s daughters are still alive but live far away. She visits them once in a while along with her 10 grandchildren and is very much looking forward to seeing them all clearly.

Initiatives like these allow eye problems like Constancia’s to be detected at the community level and then be referred to the district and provincial hospitals for treatment.

“A lot of people have been helped by The Foundation,” said Shalom Dapar-Sumaguila from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, one of The Fred Hollows Foundation’s field partners in The Philippines.

“We see heads of families who can now see and return to their jobs and earn again, and children who stopped schooling who can now study again. It’s really an accomplishment. It cannot be done by [our] Department alone, so we really need to converge with other organisations, like The Fred Hollows Foundation.”

What Next?

The Foundation has celebrated its fifth anniversary in the Philip-pines by announcing it will expand its sight-saving work to four new provinces this year. 

The Foundation’s Philippines Country Manager Mardi Mapa-Suplido said projects to end avoidable blindness would be launched in Antique, Negros Oriental, Oriental Mindoro and Quezon provinces following the success of existing projects. 

Can I Visit this Project?

Interested donors should contact The Foundation.

How was it this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
Travel Insurance Direct AU
Travel Insurance Direct NZ
World Nomads Australia
World Nomads NZ
World Nomads UK
World Nomads Global
World Nomads Europe
World Nomads Ireland
The Fred Hollows Foundation

The Fred Hollows Foundation is an international development organisation working towards eliminating avoidable blindness and improving Indigenous Australian health. We are inspired by Professor Fred Hollows, a humanitarian, eye surgeon and social activist. Established in 1992, The Foundation continues in Fred’s footsteps and now works in more than 25 countries around the world and here in Australia. Working with in-country partners, we perform surgeries, deliver local training, provide equipment, educate about eye health and advocate for change.