Wednesday, 07 Jul 2021
Australia’s health care system is regarded as one of the best in the world which means that is easy to take for granted that, for many of us, free or affordable health care is available whenever it is needed.
People in low-income countries are not so fortunate. For billions of people around the world, particularly people with disabilities, adequate and effective health care is inaccessible for a range of reasons.
This is starkly shown by the fact that cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness, responsible for just over half of all the cases of blindness around the world, yet it is both preventable and treatable.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye which is likened to fogginess on the lens of a camera. If untreated, cataracts can lead to permanent vision impairment or blindness, limiting opportunities for those affected.
The majority of cataract cases impact adults, but some children are born with the condition. It can also develop after eye injuries, diseases, or inflammation.
The good news is that there are safe and cost-effective surgical interventions available to fix cataracts and restore sight. The procedure, which takes just 12 minutes, involves an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) replacing the clouded lens with an artificial lens that generally lasts a lifetime.
Surgery is highly successful, with 90% of recipients benefiting from improved vision.
However, the majority of people living with cataracts live in low-income countries and cannot afford or access the health care they need to improve their lives.
CBM’s annual Miracles Day, which takes place on Thursday August 19th, is an opportunity for Australians to show their generosity and donate to restore sight to people living in some of the poorest parts of the world.
Just $33 – less than the cost of two movie tickets or a take-away dinner – will give somebody the Miracle of sight-saving surgery. This has a life-changing impact on their education or employment prospects and their ability to care for and support their loved ones.
Almost quarter of a million (242,200) Miracles have been donated since Miracles Day was launched eight years ago. This year, the goal is to provide an additional 50,000 Miracles to people in need.
CBM and its field partners are on the ground providing inclusive eye health projects in countries including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
These are also among the countries where the need is greatest. For example, there are an estimated 690,000 blind adults and children in Bangladesh, the majority due to treatable cataracts. In the Philippines, about four million people live with undiagnosed eye problems and require health care.
There is always a desperate need for funded eye surgeries in these countries, however the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that eye screening camps have been delayed due to restrictions and social distancing and there is a significant backlog of people waiting for support.
This Miracles Day is the chance to make a difference and change somebody’s life for the better.
On Miracles Day, can you help us achieve our target of providing sight-saving Miracles to 50,000 people in need?