On Monday March 12th the new G Adventures 20/20 Vision Centre in Moung Roussey in the province of Battambang, Cambodia was inaugurated. The celebration was attended by the local community leader, Penny Lyons, Executive Director of Seva Canada, Kris Dhiradityakul, the Planeterra Ambassador for South East Asia, Shane Warmington South East Asia Chief Experience Office (CEO ) Manager, and Mr. Ek Sarou Director of the Battambang Ophthalmic Care Centre (BOCC).
“It was a simple and nice affair,” said Penny Lyons who cut the ribbon at the inauguration. And the new Vision Centre staff didn’t wait long to get to work, twenty patients were seen that day.
The Vision Centre, funded through the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit founded by G Adventures, was built in collaboration with Seva Canada and the Battambang Ophthalmic Care Centre, Seva’s partner in Cambodia. The Vision Centre employs an ophthalmic nurse as well as a field worker and has essential equipment for examining and treating simple eye conditions. About 90% of eye issues can be handled at the Vision Centre and those patients who need further care, such as cataract surgery, will be transported to the BOCC.
The Vision Centre will serve 300,000 people, mainly the rural poor who have had little to no access to eye care. It is expected that 6600 hundred people will be screened annually through screening camps, 200 people per month will visit the clinic itself and 3000 people will be referred for treatment annually to the Battambang Ophthalmic Care Centre.
Blindness is an enormous problem in Cambodia. There are about 168,000 Cambodians who are blind and, as is true in nearly all developing countries, 80% of this blindness is due to preventable or treatable conditions such as cataract.
The new G Adventures 20/20 Vision Centre in Moung Roussey is a big step towards helping Cambodians regain their sight and preventing loss of sight; transforming their lives and the lives of their families and communities. Children will be able to go back to school, adults will be able to go back to work and caregivers will be relieved of the burden of carrying for the blind.
When more Cambodians are able to lead healthy, productive lives entire communities will have a chance at a better future.