Visiting Papua New Guinea

With the borders reopening, Karen, our Pacific Regional Coordinator was eager to visit each of our cbm partners in Papua New Guinea to hear about progress and have some face-to-face meetings.

It was a wonderful time to connect and see some of the tangible results from the cbm-funded activities in-country. Whilst there, Karen was lucky enough to attend the blessing and opening ceremony for the new 4WD vehicle purchased to take mobile clinics into the remote communities to dispense prescription glasses. In Papua New Guinea the leading causes of blindness are cataracts and refractive error – both are reversible with access to care. With this vehicle, the team at cbm’s partner Callan Optical Services plan to make sure that children and adults living in remote locations can have their eyes tested and have access to affordable glasses to help them with their everyday lives like school work, reading and working.

The ceremony was held in Goroka, one of the main towns of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea and attended by the eye care staff from the refractive and surgical eye services in the area.

The terrain in the mountainous Highlands is beautiful to behold but not so easy to negotiate by foot, especially with visual impairment! In the speeches, the new vehicle was referred to as ‘the vehicle of change’ because with this vehicle, the lives of many people will be changed for good! There were tears of gratitude and thanks to generous cbm supporters like you, and to the New Zealand Aid Programme, for making the purchase of the vehicle possible. The vehicle is kitted out with heavy duty bull bars and window grates for safety whilst travelling. With this vehicle of change, the team at Callan Optical Services are hoping to reach over 20,000 people with vision screening over the next couple of years, and at least 500 people per year with glasses. They will also run awareness programmes about eye health in the communities and identify people with cataracts for surgical services. Thank you for your generosity to help our near neighbours in PNG.

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