Blindness in Ivory Coast
The Ivory Coast ranks 171st out of 188 countries by the United Nations in the Human Development Index, making it one of the poorest countries in the world. Since 1960, it has been beset by a series of dictatorships and civil wars. As such, its citizens have very little access to adequate health care. Avoidable blindness is a major problem in the country, with approximately 16,000 new cases every year. Additionally, the country saw a resurgence of onchocerciasis, or river blindness, in 2008. This launched an initiative by the World Health Organization called the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases. The program is currently on track to completely eradicate the disease from the West African nation.
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness identified the two leading barriers to getting eye treatment in the Ivory Coast as a lack of accessibility to services, and a lack of knowledge from its citizens that treatment was available. By increasing access and education to eye care services and sight-restoring surgery, SEE aims to greatly reduce the number of blindness cases in the country.
SEE in Ivory Coast
Once a year, SEE partners with the organization 1040i in Doropo by providing essential medical supplies used for screenings and services, allowing the clinic to serve patients year-round.
In 2017, SEE hosted three clinics in the Ivory Coast, where SEE volunteer doctors provided necessary eye exams to over 1,100 patients and restored sight to a total of 276 patients.
Read about one of SEE’s recent programs in the country, where Dr. Kimberly Lovelace successfully restored sight to 7-year-old twin boys, Isaac and Israel.