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Eye camps in Yemen--providing medical coverage to the underprivileged

Mahfouth A. Bamashmus, Abdulmoghni O. Al-Barrag

Med Sci Monit 2008; 14(11): PH41-45

ID: 869424

Background: This study aimed to decrease the massive problem of cataract-related blindness and visual disability in rural areas of Yemen and reach more visually impaired and blind people to provide them with an improved standard of visual rehabilitation.
Material and Method: From January 1999 to June 2006, 181,123 patients were examined, out of which 6112 underwent cataract extraction. After a media announcement, patients had a comprehensive preoperative evaluation; suitable patients were selected for cataract surgery.
Results: Since 2002, 65 "eye camps" were done (26 of them were large eye camps; while 39 others were smaller and called the "wagon trains of light"). We worked in eye camps in the rural provinces of Yemen (Abyan, Aden, Addaleh, Amran, Dhamar, Hadramout, Hagga, Hodeidah, Ibb, Lahg, Mahara, Mahweet, Sana'a city, Sana'a, Shabwa and Taiz). Postoperatively, patients were examined by a local ophthalmologist. Patients who received these services in these eye camps were poor and were provided with free surgery, medicine, and glasses.
Conclusions: The "eye camps" involved a comprehensive cooperative relief effort on a large scale to combat the widespread prevalence of cataract and chronic shortages of ophthalmic facilities and medical personnel as it affects residents of rural areas in Yemen. Until primary and secondary care facilities are optimal for cataract screening and surgery in Yemen, such eye camps are recommended to reduce the backlog of curable blindness resulting from cataract. This project will continue until enough eye hospitals are built in Yemen.

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