Barriers To Receiving a Cure
There are various nations across the globe that each experience a feat of struggle. One of the more common issues is the lack of sufficient and sustainable healthcare. Across Africa, countries such as Ghana are struggling to combat disease and receive the treatment they deserve and need.
Across the developing world there are several barriers that exist that prevent people from accessing healthcare — more specifically eyecare. One major barrier is a lack of awareness across communities. Similar to what we have seen in Nepal, many individuals are often unaware of what they are suffering from. They believe that cataracts is something that they are to live with — without treatment.
It was stated in a report back from 2001 that to acheieve the elimination of cataracts in the developing world, organisations and healthcare officals need to ensure that people are placed within the communities to support and explain the healthcare issues that people are dealing with.
Smaller, marginalised communties also can turn towards alternative treatment such as relgious rituals, herbal remidies and other home sourced treatments. It has been shown that one of the most effective ways of treating cataracts in the developing world is to replace the clouded lens with an intraocular lens that is produced within the country itself. This method has been proven sustainable and effective, specifically in Nepal where the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation’s co-founder, Dr Sanduk Ruit established a lens factory to produce intra-ocular lenses for a low price.
Socio-economic issues play a major role in cataract blindness rates across Africa. Many individuals do not have access to quality eye care due to lack of resources or poor economic conditions. Moreover, cultural beliefs can limit access to preventative health services or even treatment when symptoms occur — this only exacerbates the problem by allowing vision impairments caused by cataracts to progress unchecked until it becomes too late for successful treatment options such as surgery or corrective lenses.
Raising the money to pay for treatment is not an option for the majority of people living in poverty. In countiries with developed and established eye care structures such as the US, cataract surgery can cost up to $500, whereas in developing nations such as Ghana, Nepal and Bhutan, the price of cataract surgery reduces significantly.
It the study, Cataract Blindness — The African Perspective it was said curing cataract blindness in an industrialised country can cost from anywhere between $500 to $2000 meaning it makes sense to delay/prevent cataracts. However, in developing nations such as Ghana, Ethiopia and Nepal it is much more logical to cure cataracts straight away due to the cheaper cost. Preventions and delays would cost significantly more, especially as formal waiting lists and patient records are sparse.
Health insurance systems are not widely available in Ghana and the ones that do exist often do not cover eye treatments such as cataract surgery. This makes it impossible for those who suffer from this disease to pay for these expensive surgeries out of pocket and get access to the life changing procedure they need.
On top of this, another issue that can lead to cataract blindness is malnutrition. Nutritional deficiencies such as a Vitamin A deficiency can increase a person’s risk of developing cataracts. This makes it especially challenging for people living in low-income countries where there is often inadequate access to nutritious foods and medical care.
It is evident that there are various factors present that can significantly limit access to cataract surgery and other eye treatments for those affected by this condition. As such, there needs to be a lot more focus on finding ways to provide better healthcare services for those who need them so that everyone has the chance at regaining their sight and living fulfilling lives.
Over the next month, the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation will make their way into Ghana to cure thousands of needless cataract blindness. Follow along to see the amazing work our teams are doing!
The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation was founded in March 2021 by London philanthropist Tej Kolhi and Kathmandu ‘God of Sight’ Dr Sanduk Ruit. As of November 2022 the NGO had screened 170,022 patients and cured 22,663of blindness at 91 outreach camps in Nepal, Bhutan and Ghana. The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation is a restricted fund operating under the auspices of Prism The Gift Fund, registered UK charity number 1099682. The Foundation targets the #1 United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of reducing poverty by making large-scale surgical interventions to cure blindness at the grassroots in the developing world. All treatments are provided completely free, with 100% of the funding coming from Tej Kohli and the Kohli family.