SEE has restored sight in Mongolia since 1992. Our first program was led by founder Dr. Harry S. Brown. The team drove 14 hours from the capital of Ulaan Baatar to the remote province of Hovd. There, they screened a total of 472 patients and performed 66 sight-restoring surgeries. To get a first-hand perspective of SEE’s early programs in the country, listen to our podcast interview of Col. John Blashford-Snell.
Through a partnership with the Virtue Foundation, SEE participates in the annual Virtue Foundation Surgical and Teaching Mission in Mongolia. Our volunteer ophthalmologists, along with doctors of various other specialties, provide services and treatment to patients at the First Central Hospital of Mongolia.
In addition to surgeries and screenings, our doctors provide training for local staff so they can be better equipped to serve patients year-round. Since 2017, SEE has organized four programs in Mongolia, performing over 400 sight-restoring surgeries and serving over 2,000 patients.
Mongolia is a landlocked country that shares a border with Russia to the North and China to the South. With a landmass of over 600,000 square miles and a population of just over 3 million, Mongolia has the least population density out of any independent nation on Earth. This makes providing healthcare services to all citizens extremely challenging. Since its population is spread out widely across its territory, many Mongolians do not have direct access to medical facilities.
Surprisingly, the country has 150 ophthalmologists. However, they generally practice in and around the capital of Ulaan Baatar. Consequently, access to eye care services in rural areas remains limited.