SEE partners with I Care San Antonio and Medical Ministry International to hold a two-week joint clinical and surgical campaign every January in Colombia.
On these campaigns, four to six surgeons perform a range of sight-restoring surgeries on up to 400 patients. These include cataract removals, correction of strabismus, and pterygium removal. Key locations include Clinica de Especialistas Guajira LTDA in Riohacha. Since 2017, SEE has organized 5 programs in Colombia, performing over 1,000 sight-restoring surgeries and serving over 5,000 patients.
Colombia is located at the northern tip of South America, sharing a border with Panama. The country has greatly increased its health expenditure in order to extend health care coverage to more citizens. However, accessibility and quality of services still need improvement. Rural residents continue to suffer from very limited access to healthcare.
In 2011, Colombia became the first country in the Americas to eliminate onchocerciasis, or river blindness, the second-leading infectious cause of blindness globally. Unfortunately, there are still over 860,000 people who suffer from blindness, mostly due to cataracts. The main barriers to receiving treatment include the cost of surgery, a lack of knowledge that treatment is possible, and poor program management.