Blindness in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world. Over one-third of its people live below the poverty line. There are very little healthcare services available to all, especially the poor. There are even less eye care services, which results in a really high rate of blindness, especially in children. In 2004, the country launched the Bangladesh Childhood Cataract Campaign (BCCC), which set a goal of treating at least 20,000 blind children by 2020. The BCCC is being led by Dr. Mohammad Abdul Muhit, and it is recognized to be the largest campaign of its kind in the world. During the program’s first 5 years, they were able to restore sight to over 10,000 blind children!
However, this campaign isn’t enough to treat the nearly 750,000 blind people in the country. This is especially true for those living in rural areas, who may never get the chance to even have their eyes checked. There are other barriers to getting treatment like a lack of education surrounding treatable eye conditions and social stigmas around blindness.
SEE in Bangladesh
In 2017, SEE launched a program in the capital city of Dhaka. Our volunteers worked with Dr. Munirul Huq to see patients at Bashundhara Eye Hospital. During the program’s very first year, our team was able to screen 300 people who might not have otherwise had a chance to get their eyes checked. 58 of these patients received free eye surgery at our clinic, and had their sight restored!