Poor Brazilians Get a Chance to Be Operated on in Cuba

Two Cuban ophthalmologists who are part of the Miracle Mission, which treats visual deficiencies and ailments such as cataracts, glaucoma, and strabismus (squinting), paid a visit, Wednesday, February 22, to the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) encampment in Brazlândia, on the outskirts of the Federal District.

The MST signed a partnership with the mission, which should begin offering treatment to patients in the encampments at the end of March.

According to Ada Madariaga, a physician and coordinator of the Miracle Mission, "the project is directed at poor patients without the economic means to have access to this type of operation in their countries."

The project is currently active in 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries and has already provided care to 210,000 people, all of whom have been treated in Cuba.

Madariaga explained that the Cuban ophthalmologists who work in the associated countries indicate which patients should receive treatment.

"The patients go to Cuba to be operated. Their travel is provided by the Cuban Aviation company, and they are always accompanied by medical teams," she informed.

The project was inaugurated a little over a year and a half ago by the Cuban government and gets help from the government of Venezuela. The doctors who visited Brasí­lia were invited by social action groups to discuss the work of the Mission.

They are part of a delegation of 131 Cuban ophthalmologists attending the 30th International Ophthalmology Meeting, in São Paulo.

The Cuban ambassador to Brazil, Pedro Nunes, said that the mission’s objective is to treat 100 million people in the next ten years. According to Nunes, this represents Cuba’s contribution to achieving the goal set by the World Health Organization (WHO) of erasing the number of cases of curable blindness around the world by 2020.

"Over 200,000 people have already recovered their vision and are once again able to see the light, which is so indispensable to people’s quality of life," he observed.

WHO data show that more than 37 million people suffer from some type of visual deficiency, caused, for the most part, by cataracts, and that 6 million Latin Americans are victims of some form of ophthalmological disease.

Agência Brasil

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