Moshi, Tanzania, October 28, 2010- Today’s cataract surgery of Joyce Kaaya, 57, in Moshi, Tanzania symbolically marks the 10 millionth cataract surgery in cbm-supported programs throughout the world.
“This is an exceptional benchmark of cbm’s life-transforming work," says Ed Epp, Executive Director of cbm Canada. "cbm’s goal is to continue reducing curable blindness. Our focus is not on achieving numbers; but on each and every individual whose futures we can help change."
When Joyce, a single mother, lost her eyesight to cataracts nine months ago, she also lost her independence. She needed help with her everyday chores, with dressing and undressing. She could no longer farm or take care of her cows and chickens.
Relying upon the sacrificial love of family members, Joyce had almost given up hope of ever seeing again. Her son Ombeni stopped his training as a gardener and her niece Esther gave up her job to help Joyce.
After a cbm field worker found Joyce, she was informed that her sight could be restored by a cataract surgery.
Joyce’s operation was a great success. “I’m very happy and thank God and cbm,” says Joyce. “A dream has come true. I can’t wait to read my bible and go back to farming.”
“We are thankful to the generous Canadians who have supported our life-changing work. They have helped make it possible for 10 million people, like Joyce, to have their sight restored. Together we can achieve a lot in the future!"
A global effort
The first cbm-supported cataract operation took place 44 years ago in Afghanistan. Since then, the number of cataract operations in developing countries has risen constantly. Last year alone, 675,000 were performed.
The eye department of the KCMC at the foot of the Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania contributes to this effort. Built in 1971, the clinic was a pioneer in many aspects of eye work in Africa.
Here, the first cataract surgeons in Tanzania were trained, and today it is remains one of two training hospitals for ophthalmologists in all of Tanzania.
cbm supports about 200 eye hospitals and eye departments worldwide. There are so many cataract operations being performed around the world, that every minute a blind person has their sight restored through cbm funding.
Battle not over
“We have every reason to rejoice how many people have received the miracle of sight in just 44 years,” says Ed Epp, Executive Director of cbm Canada. “Yet the challenge of restoring sight to the poorest people in the world is far from over. Eighteen million people worldwide are still needlessly blind due to cataracts.”
The vast majority of these people, 15 million, live in the poorest countries of the world on less than $1 a dollar a day. Parents can’t support their families; children are unable to attend school.
“Cataract surgery is life-changing, quick and cost effective,” explains Epp. “For only $33 an adult’s sight can be easily restored in 12-15 minutes. cbm offers people hope, and gives them an opportunity to climb out of dire poverty.”
How Canadians can help
You can be part of changing someone’s life through a miracle of sight call 1-800-567-2264 or visit www.cbmcanada.org/miracles.
A leading international Christian development organization, cbm (formerly known as Christian Blind Mission) works to meet the needs of persons with all disabilities in the poorest countries of the world. cbm Canada’s head office is located in Stouffville, Ontario.