Blindness in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a rugged, rain-forested Central American country, with coastlines on the Caribbean and 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. In particular, only 134 ophthalmologists are available to serve a population of almost 5 million. 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 had their eyes checked.
SEE in Costa Rica
In 2016 and 2017, SEE held two expeditions to Nicoya, treating more than 75 people 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 local clinics in Nicoya.