Blindness in Vanuatu
Vanuatu is a country consisting of over 80 islands located in the South Pacific Ocean, with a scattered population across vast sea expanses, and rugged mountainous terrains. The geography of the island nation contributes to the challenges in providing medical care throughout the country. Some remote islands can be reached only by boat, making it incredibly difficult for the people of the country to receive medical care.
In Vanuatu, 85% of blindness is caused by cataracts, trauma and diabetic retinopathy. The majority of these cases are avoidable and/or treatable, but with only 1 ophthalmologist for the entire country, the blind population is unable to get the treatment they need. In Vanuatu, eye care has historically been carried out by ophthalmic nurses and visiting medical teams from international NGO’s like SEE.
SEE in Vanuatu
In 2011, SEE established a new partnership with Marine Reach, an organization that provides medical supplies to remote areas in the Pacific Ocean via a ship docked in New Zealand. Through this partnership, SEE has performed over 330 sight-restoring surgeries in Vanuatu, and has provided eye care services to many more. During our most recent program in Vanuatu in July 2017, SEE collaborated with Marine Reach to treat over 100 patients with cataracts on the island of Espiritu Santo.