The new G Adventures 20/20 Vision Centre in Cambodia starts to take form

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

In September the ground was broken for the new G Adventures 20/20 Vision Centre in the province of Battambang, Cambodia. We are happy to report that the construction is going well and we have walls! Dr. KC, an ophthalmologist and Seva’s partner in Cambodia, went to visit the site and sent us some great photos showing us the wonderful progress that is being made.

Seva & G Adventrues 20/20 Vision Centre in Cambodia

The Vision Centre, funded through Planeterra Foundation, the charitable arm of G Adventures (formerly Gap Adventures), is being built in collaboration with Seva Canada and Battambang Ophthalmic Care, Seva’s partner in Cambodia. It is located in Moung Roussey, about 40km south of Battambang town, and will serve 300,000 people — mainly the rural poor who have had little or no access to health care.

Seva & G Adventures 20/20 Vision Centre in Cambod

Proposed OT room in the new Vision Centre

The Vision Centre, which will be finished in the spring of 2012, will employ an ophthalmic nurse as well as a field worker and will have essential equipment for examining and treating simple eye conditions. About 90% of eye problems can be dealt with at the Vision Centre and those patients who need further care, such as cataract surgery, will be transported to Seva’s partner in Battambang.

It is expected that 6600 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.

In Cambodia, blindness and visual impairment are major health problems that have ripple effects throughout families and communities. With 80-90% of eye care issues being preventable or treatable, Vision Centres are vital for early detection and the prevention of blindness.

Seva & G Adventures 20/20 Vision Centre in Cambodia

“Cambodia lost so much during the war and conflict in recent years,” explains Dr. Chundak Tenzing, Director of Seva’s Sight Program. “Now, it’s as though they have to rebuild their health care system infrastructure from the ground up. But there’s already been real progress and we can see the way to keep improving.” The new Vision Centre in Moung Roussey is certainly a positive step forward in providing Cambodians access to eye care.

Keep checking back as we will continue to provide updates on the progress of the new Vision Centre.

Breaking new ground with Gap Adventures in Cambodia

Monday, September 19th, 2011

This week, the ground was broken for the Gap Adventures 20/20 Vision Centre in the province of Battambang, Cambodia.

Vision Centre construction on Battambang Province Cambodia

Work begins on the construction of the Gap Adventures 20/20 Vision Centre

The Vision Centre, funded through Planeterra Foundation, the charitable arm of Gap Adventures, is being built in collaboration with Seva Canada and Battambang Ophthalmic Care, Seva’s partner in Cambodia. It is located in Moung Roussey, about 40km south of Battambang town, and will serve 300,000 people — mainly the rural poor who have had little or no access to health care.

In Cambodia, blindness and visual impairment are major health problems that have ripple effects throughout families and communities. The main causes of blindness in this area are cataracts, uncorrected refractive errors, glaucoma, corneal scars and pterygium, a skin-like growth over the eye. Of these, 80-90% are preventable or treatable and Vision Centres are vital for early detection and the prevention of blindness.

The Vision Centre, which will be up and running in the spring of 2012, will employ an ophthalmic nurse as well as a field worker and will have essential equipment for examining and treating simple eye conditions. About 90% of eye problems can be dealt with at the Vision Centre and those patients who need further care, such as cataract surgery, will be transported to Seva’s partner in Battambang.

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.

Vision Centre in Cambodia ground breaking event

Group photo after the traditional ground breaking ceremony for the Vision Centre

Cambodians are still recovering from 30 years of civil war. 85% of the population lives in rural areas and more than a third survive on less than $1/ day. Medical and other social services are nonexistent for a majority of the population. The current physical, human and financial resources of the Cambodian government are unable to address the problem of preventable and treatable blindness without external assistance. Annual expenditures on health care are about $2/person and the lack of hospital facilities, equipment and qualified health personnel remain a major problem.

Poverty and blindness are intimately linked. When someone goes blind, they are unable to work or go to school, to care for their families and, in most cases, they need other family members to care for them. This plunges families deeper into poverty. By giving the gift of sight to thousands of people each year, this Vision Centre will also help break the cycle of poverty.

“You can’t get a much better bang for your buck than restoring sight,” says Dr. Martin Spencer, ophthalmologist and Seva volunteer.