Salman A Khan
Professor L. Harkness
21 April 2015
Poverty and Blindness
Blindness is a major threat in the developing countries. It impedes a person’s cognitive function and affects an economy. There are multiple patients around the world who cannot afford cure to their blindness. While affordability is one issue, accessibility is another. Rural population suffers because they have no access to hospitals in those remote areas. This workshop presented a similar issue. The first part was a documentary “Out of the Darkness”. Filmed in Nepal’s northeast, Dr. Sanduk Ruit and his American colleague Dr. Geoff Tabin traveled Nepal’s rural areas to offer medical care to the patients. The second part was a short presentation by Farhan Qayyum and Jason Detrani, two pre-med students at the Binghamton University. This presentation showed the goals of a non-profit organization: “Kids with Vision”.
Cataract is a leading cause of blindness. Due to high altitude, the rural population gets exposed to the ultra violet rays, causing cataract (clouding of the eye's natural lens). Malnutrition also increases the risk of cataract in this area due to Vitamin A deficiency. Fortunately, the cure for the cataract is possible. Dr. Sanduk and Dr. Tabin developed a portable low-cost surgical procedure to help the rural poor in the northeast of Nepal. These people face two main barriers for the cure: affordability of treatment and the reach to Kathmandu city. Dr. Sanduk and his crew made it possible to treat cataract by traveling the rugged areas of Nepal on foot and providing the treatment for $25. Dr. Sanduk made house calls; it took three days for his crew to get there. Along with his crew, he was able to do two hundred and twenty-three surgeries, with each operation lasting no longer than five minutes. While most surgeries were successful, patients with complicated cataracts were sent to the hospital in Kathmandu city.
The documentary was followed by the...
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