The Correlation Between Poverty and Blindness
In many rural communities across the globe, people are needlessly suffering from blindness and visual impairments. This often leads to the descent into poverty, creating a life of hardship for those affected.
Blindness and visual defects have become increasingly prevalent in many developing countries across the world. Whilst many countries are doing all they can to reduce poverty-stricken communities — the support for blindness lacks.
It has been stated in a study by Lancet that 90% of the world’s blind live in poverty. This shows that blindness is a major factor when it comes to people and communities who suffer financially. Eliminating blindness in these countries will alleviate poverty which can allow people to live a fuller life.
Many people living in small, remote communities are already working their hardest to escape poverty, however, once struck with something such as cataracts, they remain in the endless cycle of economic instability.
A recent report published by the Unite For Sight Foundation had a simple conclusion: blindness causes poverty and poverty cause blindness.
This has been proven several times. The correlation between blindness and poverty has become increasingly obvious. When organisations begin to intervene, the evidence suggests that people can escape the cycle of poverty. Through our foundation, we have seen several patients return to work and earn a living that supports them, their family and their community.
Those living in poorer communities are much more likely to suffer at the hands of avoidable blindness — much of them suffering from cataracts which are easily cured in the western world. Often communities in the developing world are unable to gain access to sufficient resources and healthcare.
A lot of the time people are completely unaware that they can be cured. Once their vision is lost, they give up on life and spend their life sitting in their homes.
With the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation, it has been shown that sight-affecting ailments such as cataracts are easily cured for a small amount of money and in a short time. Blindness has become an epidemic in developing countries such as Nepal. Intervening and curing those who are suffering ultimately reduce the impact of poverty.
Developing countries and remote regions are extremely community-based, each individual thrives when the entire community thrives. Having several members of a village be immobile and unable to work has a knock-on effect on everyone else living there.
It is the job of organisations from across the globe to get involved and intervene to create a space where these suffering individuals can live a prosperous and whole life again. When something is overly accessible and easily cured in other parts of the world, we must ensure that these countries can experience the same standards, especially in healthcare.
Further efforts are being made across the globe, a study from the African nation Mozambique showed the difference between blindness above and below the poverty line. Half of those in the study were living below the poverty line and had little to no access to healthcare, had no formal education and lived in extremely rural areas with no infrastructure or services.
This study further showcases and pairs with the World Health Organisation’s idea that those living in poverty are in higher need of eye healthcare services and that there are four main contributors to needless blindness. These are; restricted access to healthcare services, economic deprivation, poverty and disability/loss of earning power.
There are a variety of global health issues that have a large impact and attract the attention of many high-profile people from around the world, whereas blindness is often ignored. There are a small number of organisations, such as the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation, who are fighting to create change and support those in need. However, even with such success in the number of people cured, the battle against poverty continues.
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.