With a population of 82 million people, Egypt possesses the technical capacity to restore sight to its 820,000 blind residents, two-thirds of whom are women. However, due to inadequate awareness, access and acceptance of eye care services, even when free, available services are rarely used.
In Egypt, 25.2% of the country’s population lives below the poverty line. Egypt has no national eye care program and most eye care services are hospital-based with minimal outreach activities to communities. While there are 3,400 ophthalmologists in the country, 40% of whom are licensed to operate, the majority live in Cairo and other major cities, providing major barriers to access for those in need in remote communities.
Through the Nourseen Foundation, an Egyptian Eye Care NGO dedicated to serving the country’s rural poor, Seva donors support eye care in Menia governorates, a region in Egypt’s northern area. Specifically, Seva donors support trachoma work. Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness whereby inflammation of the upper eyelid causes scarring which can lead the eyelashes to turn inward and scratch the front of the eye. The WHO estimates that there are about 8 million people who need surgical correction to prevent this type of blindness and women have almost twice the risk compared to men.
Seva donors also support the Nourseen Foundation in building a community ophthalmology network including mobile caravans that will be used to treat, refer and transport patients to hospital for eye care.