HelpMeSee just launched our 10th country campaign to eliminate cataract blindness in the country of Myanmar.
For a bit of background, many may be more familiar with Myanmar by its historical name -Burma. The country is located in Southeast Asia on the Bay of Bengal and shares its borders with India, China and Thailand. Due to Myanmar’s political history, many feel the area has kept the traits of a bygone era in Asia, making it a unique tourist destination.
During his visit to the country, our CEO Jacob Mohan Thazhathu, received support for this new campaign from a special guest, Dr. Ashin Nyanissara. Also known as Sitagu Sayadaw, Dr. Nyanissara is a prominent Buddhist monk and leader in the Sitagu Monastery, holding a position in both title and honor similar to the Dalai Lama in Tibet.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 1% of Myanmar’s population of 51 million people, or over half a million, are impacted by cataract blindness - one of the highest rates in Southeast Asia.
Within the next few months, HelpMeSee will begin our work by identifying people with cataract blindness through community outreach using the HelpMeSee Reach app. To address the shortage of eye care professionals, we will be partnering with the local government, spiritual leaders, corporate and philanthropic partners to train over 600 cataract surgical specialists to treat current and future cases.
As a hallmark of the HelpMeSee campaign, all cataract specialists will be using the HelpMeSee pre-sterilized surgical kit and recording the results of their procedures in our cloud-based surgical records system. Both steps guarantee safe treatment through a clean set of surgical instruments and the consistent monitoring of patient outcomes.
Due to years of slow economic growth Myanmar is still developing, but reforms starting in 2011 and an opening of the country to NGOs like our own have made this campaign possible.
So how does this country look like from a firsthand perspective, and what was HelpMeSee able to accomplish when our team visited the country? Here are a few pictures that highlight the events of our trip:
We’ll be adding more pictures as they come in, so be sure to bookmark this page and follow us on Instagram for updates.
If you would like more information on our Myanmar campaign visit our Myanmar: Restoring Sight microsite.