The civil war in South-Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo determines the frequency of armed conflicts, the population is scared into seeking refuge in the forests, moving periodically from one place to another. Cataracts are especially common in the Democratic Republic of Congo and, unfortunately, due to the difficult social conditions the majority of the population has no access to essential medical care. Those suffering with cataracts often turn to local healers, who apply traditional medicine using ointments that do little else other than damage eye health, leading to further reduction in vision.
We offer healthcare and surgical assistance in the Democtratic Republic of Congo, thanks to collaboration between local medical teams and the support of Emergenza Sorrisi Congo, that is affiliated to our NGO with offices in Bukavu, in South Kivu. It is very much this area in which we carry out our projects to benefit children and adults who suffer from cataracts, who live in areas of continual armed conflict, and whose eyesight problems impact their daily lives and survival.
Since 2014 we have operated on 100 patients and given them back their sight. With a simple procedure, that takes about 20 minutes, we have enabled them to get back to their lives, to see light again!
The waiting list is still very long: there are a further 500 patients who need our help, lying in darkness.
Where ophthalmic missions are carried out
“I lost my sight in 2013. They told me it was due to a cataract that I had between my eyes. I was a farmer and didn’t have enough money for a surgical procedure. I was in darkness for two years, I couldn’t work, my wife was in charge of everything. I was afraid, and what made me even more afraid was not being able to see the faces of my children and wife anymore. I was told about the free service provided by Emergenza Sorrisi. With my heart full of hope, I asked for a visit. I was put on the operating list and they operated on me without charge. All went well. Finally I’m able to return and make a contribution to sustain my family, and ease the burden on my wife.”
JEAN MARIE, 49 YEARS OLD, REPUBBLICA DEMOCRATICA DEL CONGO