Cataracts - Papua New Guinea

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Thank you for helping those living with the double disadvantage of poverty and disability. Each and every gift you send is truly appreciated.
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Cataracts - Papua New Guinea

Description

Turn blindness into sight in the remote Highlands of Papua New Guinea…

Imagine being blind and isolated, unable to be with your loved ones, and having to fend for yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eyesight is something we often take for granted. Yet there are many people in the remote Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG) who are needlessly blind.

PNG has the greatest prevalence of blindness in the Pacific and one of the highest rates worldwide. Although the main causes of visual impairment and blindness are preventable, children and adults who are blind or have difficulty seeing, can rarely access the support they need. The extreme lack of access to eye health services is unnecessary. It increases the economic burden on families, and perpetuates a cycle of poverty and disability among people with visual impairment.

With a COVID-19 lockdown in PNG, many people with disabilities cannot access the services they need and others risk having their life-changing surgeries delayed or cancelled. But there is good news. Because most of cbm New Zealand’s projects are medical, they are essential services and can go ahead, helping with the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 and to offer care and treatment.

Having access to vital sight-saving surgery is an incredible blessing. Many people in PNG have never seen a doctor before. Approximately 86% of the population live in rural areas, however, most health services and specialists’ practices are located in larger towns. This results in many people being deeply affected by avoidable blindness. In fact, 1-in-15 men and 1-in-10 women in the remote Highlands struggle with blindness.

Blindness is often met with suspicion, as those who are blind are usually stigmatised and become victims of human rights abuse. Isolation is commonplace. But thankfully, with the support of generous people like you there is hope…

THE NEED

A recent study found that 5.6% of the population in Papua New Guinea aged 50 years and over experience visual impairment from un-operated cataract or blurred vision. Equipment and infrastructure for eye health services are limited and many people remain untreated or receive treatment late. Very few health personnel in Papua New Guinea are qualified to provide assessment and treatment of eye conditions. There are only 14 national ophthalmologists practicing in Papua New Guinea, far below the 80 required to attain the recommended ratio for the population of almost 9 million people. Around 40% of the population are aged 0-15 years, however there are no national ophthalmologists with paediatric specialisation to meet their needs. In general there is a lack of awareness that intervention to address visual impairment is possible. Because of these barriers, children and adults who are blind or have visual impairment can experience social challenges that put them at risk of abuse and neglect.

WHAT YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT CAN HELP FUND

  • Give the miracle of sight by helping to fund sight-saving surgeries in rural communities.
  • Restore sight by helping to fund spectacles and low vision devices.
  • Help fund eye-care clinics in marginalised communities.
  • Help fund the training of local ophthalmologists.
  • Prevent avoidable blindness with eye care screening and awareness-raising in remote communities.
  • Support representative organisations of persons with visual impairment to promote their rights and social inclusion.

 

And right now the New Zealand Government through its Aid Programme has pledged to multiple any gift you give to Papua New Guinea x5!

Additional information

Frequency

One-off, Every Week, Every 2 Weeks, Every 4 Weeks, Every Month, Quarterly, Annually

Maria

Please help support cataract surgery in Papua New Guinea so more people like Maria can receive the miracle of sight!

Your miracle gift will be multiplied x5 by the New Zealand Government Aid Programme!

“...Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed... Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

Thanks to people like you Maria can now enjoy the light of life again.

We are so grateful to people like you for supporting sight-saving cataract surgery for this beautiful daughter of God. Maria is so joyful now!

Her six children are thankful too. They gave their Mum everything they could spare. It was just enough to pay for Maria’s bus fare to the cbm outreach clinic, so generously funded by people like you, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The people of PNG, our near neighbours, are close to us in the world, but have such different lives, with their extreme poverty and lack of accessible healthcare systems.

When you read further on about how much gifts from people like you have changed Maria’s life, through sight-saving surgery, we hope you will be inspired to send a generous gift to the people of PNG. Your gift will be multiplied five times by the New Zealand Government Aid Programme.

When comparing New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, here’s a staggering fact. In New Zealand there are more than 150 ophthalmologists, but in PNG, which is nearly twice our size in area and population, there are just 14!

14 ophthalmologists for such a big population! For its size, our near neighbours in PNG have more avoidable blindness than almost anywhere on earth. Your generous gift for vital eye health services and training ophthalmologists is greatly needed.

Please prayerfully consider sending your gift for inclusive eye health services, and to help train local doctors to become ophthalmologists.

Living with blindness, due to cataracts, in the dense and dangerous rain forest, Maria lost hope that anyone would ever restore her sight.

Maria was completely resigned to being blind. But she believed in Jesus. Every single day, she prayed for a miracle.

The endless struggle of being blind in poverty was so hard on Maria. No longer could she farm her little vegetable patch for food to sell at the local market. Because of her blindness, she lost her livelihood, causing her the double disadvantage of poverty and disability.

Then her husband died. She lost the love of her life, but also her caregiver. She moved in with her daughter’s family. Unable to help with chores, she felt like such a burden.

Going to the toilet was a degrading ordeal – a pit in the ground at the end of a muddy track. She often fell. A horrible indignity.

With no-one to guide her, she couldn’t visit friends or go to church to sing and hear the Word. She could barely tell light from dark. No objects. No faces.

What hurt the most was never seeing her grandchildren’s lovely faces. That was her greatest dream. Being unable to bond with them broke her heart. Through her tears, though, her miracle was coming closer!

Because of the generosity of people like you, a cbm outreach worker thankfully found Maria while travelling through the Highlands, looking for people with disabilities who are often hidden away out of shame or fear.

They gave Maria the good news that a cbm outreach clinic was coming to a village near her. First, her left eye and then, a year later, her right eye would receive sight-saving surgery. Maria was so thankful to God, and to generous people like you, even if her second eye surgery was going to be a year later. This would never happen in New Zealand, but that tells you how important your generosity is to our near neighbours in PNG.

Maria hardly dared to hope. She had been blind for so long, her faith was as small as a mustard seed – but that was enough, nothing was impossible. She prayed for the miracle gift of sight and believed God’s promise in Matthew 17:20.

When her family heard the wonderful news that she would receive sight-saving cataract surgery, they rallied around for the bus fare. They walked with her on the long, arduous track through dense bush and slippery tracks, to the road. One rode with her on the bus, to make sure she made it safely to the cbm outreach clinic.

There, Maria joined an excited but apprehensive group of cataract patients, who would all receive their surgery at the same time to keep costs down.

The skilled cbm-funded ophthalmologist was able to give the miracle of sight by removing the blinding cataract from Maria’s left eye and replacing it with a crystal clear new lens. Thanks to the support of generous people like you, she received the light of life again!

Please prayerfully consider sending a generous for inclusive eye health services, and to help train local doctors to become ophthalmologists.

Maria was overjoyed when her eye bandage was removed. “I can now see as well as a child out of that eye! I have my vision back!”

Going back to church! Prayer nights! Visiting friends! Growing and selling her vegetables! Doing household chores! She no longer felt she was a burden. Her dignity was restored. No more falls or relying on her family members for her personal hygiene.

As promised, a year later, thanks to generous people like you, the cbm outreach clinic returned and Maria received her second miracle of sight-saving surgery on her right eye.

After each eye surgery, Maria marvelled at the beauty of the trees and long grasses growing around her home. The towering mountains. She thanked God, and people like you, and the cbm outreach clinic, for restoring her sight.

She no longer had to dream of her miracle. She can now live it. With clear eyes, she can see a long, healthy and independent life ahead of her, surrounded by her precious family and grandchildren.

Today, please help others like Maria who are still praying every single day for their miracle of sight. Please prayerfully consider sending a generous gift, to be multiplied five times by the New Zealand Government Aid Programme.

Your gift will be multiplied five times for inclusive eye health services to help protect eyes, provide glasses, and fund surgical supplies used in cataract surgeries to help give the miracle of sight. It will help train future ophthalmologists from PNG.

Or become an Eye Champion for $35 a month, which becomes $175 a month, to help even more people like Maria receive vital inclusive eye health services to help give them the miracle of sight.

Without the generosity of people like you, Maria would have to live out her life in complete blindness and poverty. She prayed and believed in God for a miracle, which she gratefully received and which transformed her life! Please send your generous gift today or as soon as you can, because many other precious people in PNG are stumbling alone in blindness, praying for their miracle too.

Please help more people, like Maria, by providing inclusive eye health services to help protect eyes, provide glasses, and fund surgical supplies used in cataract surgeries to give the miracle of sight. Your gift will be multiplied x5 by the New Zealand Government Aid Programme, for precious people like Maria in Papua New Guinea. Thank you for caring.