Monthly Archives: September 2011


By admin

Sep 14th 2011

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The economic impact of restoring vision

Categories: Bangladesh, Cataract, Economy, Kenya, The Philippines, Vision 2020

For years, CBM has needed hard evidence on the economic impact of restoring vision, and now we have it.

A recently completed study in Kenya, Bangladesh and the Philippines showed that following a sight-restoring cataract operation, the average economic gain per family per year is £250. Not much by UK standards, but an awful lot of money for a Bangladeshi family.

Cataract screening campaign in Kenya

A Kenyan woman has her eyes examined for cataract. Photo: CBM.

It costs CBM about £20 to do one cataract surgery, so the return on investment is 1,500%!

In 2010, CBM and its local partners restored eyesight to 644,000 cataract blind people who would otherwise have remained blind, due to poverty. So a bit of maths shows that the global economic impact of CBM’s cataract surgical work comes in at about £160 million.  Not bad at all!

Now, we have to get the message across to governments that restoring vision benefits their economies!


By Dr Will Dean

Sep 7th 2011

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Categories: Cataract, Malawi

I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing!  It was such a great moment for Sambani, and he was so honest.

Sambani before surgery.

I met Sambani two days before, indeed depressed and sad.  Dr Ute Wiehler has operated his first eye, and I did his second cataract operation two days later.  All went well, even better than anticipated!  I now saw him playing skittles with Coke bottle tops in the eye hospital courtyard with another boy who was staying in the hospital with his mother.

Sambani is from Kalonga Village in Lilongwe District.  He lives with his parents and four siblings.  He had been blind for two years, and had stopped going to school last year.

He had been doing well at school, and told me “I was an intelligent boy!”  He was in standard 4 but his low vision “made me to be a useless boy” he said.  I couldn’t believe what he was saying.

Sambani told me and nurse Rose, that he is now going to continue his education because he is “still young”.  He wants to be a driver or a teacher.

Sambani after surgery

It will be great to take Sambani back home today, so he can be with his whole family again, and then start school again next week when school opens for the new year.  We will try and meet him again in a few months to see how he is doing.

Pieter, the South African missionary living near Monkey Bay phoned me yesterday.  There are many people he has met in the villages who would like to, or need to, come to Nkhoma for their eyes.  Lumbani will be heading down on Sunday with the ambulance to help collect them.

We will try and meet with Mary who lives nearby, and see how she is doing, 4 months after her surgery!