Cataracts – Papua New Guinea

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Cataracts – Papua New Guinea


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. 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.

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…


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.


  • 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.


Your gifts continue to be multiplied x5 by match-funding from Aotearoa New Zealand’s International Development Cooperation Programme!

Additional information


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

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” - Psalm 136:1

Thanks to the generosity of cbm supporters like you, for helping to give the miracle of sight to our near neighbours in Papua New Guinea (PNG)!

One word sums up the fantastic results being achieved there:


Huki was a man lost in blindness, depression, hunger and loneliness - brought so low by two blinding disks in his eyes. But the generosity of people like you helped provide him with sight-saving cataract surgery and gave him back his life.

Today, let Huki’s testimony inspire you to give the miracle of sight to more people in PNG. The New Zealand Government Aid Programme will multiply your gift x5 to help restore sight and to help train much-needed ophthalmologists.

Two years after Huki received the miracle of sight-saving cataract surgery, he heard our team in PNG were returning to his village. He ran down the steep, slippery hill to greet us! You need great sight to run like that in the Highlands!

He was so excited to see the team. He hugged them. He grasped their hands and shook them with delight. Laughing, thanking them for the miracle of sight people like you gave to him.

The team were a bit taken aback. Not by Huki’s hugs and handshakes, that’s how people greet them wherever they are restoring sight. No, what was shocking was how much Huki had changed. He was almost unrecognisable. The depressed, downcast man now looked so jubilant and youthful!

Huki had been blind for years. It was ten years ago, in a little village in the Goroka region of the Highlands, that Huki’s eyes began to cloud over.

He was a hardworking, productive part of his community – latrine-digger, drain-layer, tree-cutter, fence-builder, ground-clearer, weed-puller and food-grower.

He was also a very kind man. When a fatherless boy needed a dad, Huki stepped up and adopted little Kimmo, who grew up and married in the village. The couple then looked after Huki through his years of blindness. Without them, Huki may not have survived.

As his cataracts grew and thickened, he could no longer work. Finally, when he was completely blind, Huki could not fend for himself at all.

A popular man, he had plenty of visitors for a while. They would guide him around his home and bring him food, but being completely dependent was hard for Huki. “They would place food in the palm of my hand. I would be hungry until someone gave me more food.”

Feeling so powerless, Huki became very depressed. “I didn’t want to have to ask others for help. I lost energy. I would lie in bed and stay at home.”

Eventually, visitors stopped coming. Feeding and helping Huki was just too much of an extra burden. This is the heavy cost of disability in places where people work so hard and so long just to cover the basics of survival. Disability makes life harder for everybody.

As people drifted away, Huki wasn’t getting enough to eat anymore. He became very anxious about his future.

Thanks to people like you, cbm-funded field workers were able to reach Huki’s village and find him. They told him about the cbm-funded eye surgery clinic in the local township.

Because of people like you, and the NZ Government’s commitment to multiply your gifts x5, the cbm-funded Goroka Eye Clinic can offer the miracle of sight to people who could never afford to pay for their own cataract surgery.

Generous people like you have done this for Huki. Please will you prayerfully consider sending a miracle gift of sight today.

Your selfless gift will be multiplied x5 to help restore sight and to help train much-needed ophthalmologists.

Kimmo helped his Dad along the steep and muddy track to the road, then on two bus rides into the town of Goroka, to arrive at the eye clinic.

In the operating room, a skilled cbm-funded ophthalmologist took the opaque blinding disks from Huki’s eyes and replaced them with perfectly clear new lenses. His eyes were bandaged for the night.

Karen, cbm’s Pacific Regional Coordinator, was on hand the morning after Huki’s cataract surgery, when his eye bandages were removed.

“That is something I will never forget,” Karen said. “Seeing the joy in Huki’s face when his vision was restored was so special.”

Two years later, Huki’s joy still shines as brightly as his eyes. He was so happy to show us the new life people like you have given him.

Huki is back to building latrines, as well as cutting fence posts and cladding by splitting trees with a bush knife. He could never do this if he was still blind.

His depression is long gone. His energy is back. He says your gift of sight-saving cataract surgery has given him a new beginning in life.

“I am no longer a burden and I am very happy.” You can see that happiness in the smile that stretches right across his face. “I am back to my old self. I have my life again.”

Please prayerfully consider sustaining the wonderful work in PNG today, by sending a gift which will be multiplied x5 to help inclusive eye health services to protect eyes, provide glasses, and fund surgical supplies used in cataract surgeries. Your gift will also help to train local doctors as much-needed ophthalmologists for PNG.

Or become an Eye Champion for $35 a month – multiplied x5 to become $175 a month, so that more people like Huki can experience the miracle of sight for themselves.

Huki gives thanks to God, for all the cbm supporters who have given him this miracle of sight, and for the team who came to his village to find him. They could not search the Highlands without people like you. The cbm-funded Goroka Eye Clinic depends on your generosity too. With every gift you send, multiplied x5, you are helping to give love that endures forever.

Huki’s testimony is like a wonderful long-term progress report – showing that the gift you send today will provide life-giving sight year after year. Please help more people like Huki to see. Send your one-off gift today or become an Eye Champion to restore sight every month. Whatever you can give will be multiplied x5 by the New Zealand Government Aid Programme, for people struggling with cataract blindness in Papua New Guinea. Thank you for your kind and caring heart.