The Fred Hollows Foundation

This was the Australian Charity of the year 2013
Bangladesh is one of the lowest lying countries in the world with a network of rivers that criss-cross the country and form part of a huge delta.

The delta floods regularly – 23 million people were left homeless after massive flooding in 1998 – and around two out of five children are malnourished while about one third of the population live below the poverty line.

Cataract accounts for up to 73.39% of blindness in Bangladesh and, because of extreme poverty and lack of awareness that cataract blindness is preventable and treatable, many people unnecessarily become and remain blind.

One big problem is that most eye care services in Bangladesh are based in major cities and more than three quarters of the country's population lives in rural areas without access to services. Other challenges include a gap in ophthalmic personnel to provide screening and treatment, a lack of appropriate equipment and minimal facilities to meet the needs of the population.

The Foundation is working with the Government of Bangladesh to support the implementation of the National Eye Care Plan to eliminate avoidable blindness in the country by the year 2020. The Foundation is also partnering with eye health NGOs to increase service delivery in eye disorders including cataract, refractive error and diabetic retinopathy.

Achievements 2013
Fred Hollows:

  • Performed 113,554 sight-saving and restoring interventions including 13,957 cataract operations
  • Saved the sight of 1,642 people with diabetic retinopathy using laser procedures
  • Trained four surgeons in the specialist fields of childhood blindness and diabetic retinopathy, along with three nurses and 624 community health workers
  • Screened 295,424 people
  • Held 50 outreach camps to screen and treat people from ethnic minority groups in southern Bangladesh
  • Raised awareness of available eye care services to increase attendance through rickshaw placards, public health messages and national television segments
  • Strengthened eye care skills in public hospitals in 10 districts - the Government of Bangladesh is now replicating our eye care model in three new districts.

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