In 2016 and 2017, SEE held two expeditions to Nicoya, Costa Rica, treating more than 75 individuals with cataracts during each campaign.
SEE’s efforts in Costa Rica are led by SEE volunteer ophthalmologists Dr. Katerina Kurteeva, Dr. Lisa Martin, and Dr. Kristin Burwick. 2017 is SEE’s first year collaborating with Celina Rotary Club of Ohio, which organizes and transports medical supplies to the main site at Hospital de la Anexion de Nicoya. Since 2017, SEE has organized 6 programs in Costa Rica, performing over 200 surgeries and serving almost 300 patients.
Costa Rica is a rugged, rain-forested Central American country, with coastlines on the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean. The government provides universal health care to its citizens and permanent residents, making it the best public health system in Latin America, according to the U.N.
However, the country’s medical infrastructure is overburdened and has a severe shortage of physicians. Only 134 ophthalmologists are available to serve a population of almost 5 million people. Because of this, doctors primarily work in major cities, and rural communities suffer. As a result, many poor people outside of major cities have never received any form of eye care.