In 2017, SEE volunteer Dr. Shalu Gupta worked with local doctors at Otino Waa Path Ministries and Lira Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda. During a 4-day clinic, the team was able to screen a total of 496 patients and provide sight-restoring surgeries to an additional 36 patients.
The team also provided training to local medical staff on phacoemulsification surgery techniques in an effort to build a sustainable eye care system capable of treating cataract cases year-round.
The Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa that has struggled with providing healthcare to its citizens for decades. Uganda’s healthcare system faces severe problems due to being under-resourced, poorly managed, and unable to meet the demands of a growing population. This results in low quality and lack of availability of healthcare for many Ugandans.
Based on 2014 population figures, 376,975 Ugandans have some form of visual impairment. There is a further risk of blindness and visual impairment in the country due to river blindness, or onchocerciasis. In 2006, the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) stated that 2,758,366 were at risk of river blindness in western Uganda. A 2015 Onchocerciasis Study in Northern Uganda showed that an estimated 5% of the people in the at-risk areas tested positive for river blindness in skin tests.