Treatment of preventable blindness, like cataract and low vision, and deafness is one of the most effective ways to lift people out of poverty, especially for vulnerable communities like refugees living in makeshift environments.
Cataract Missions – Life with Blindness
Cataract accounts for 30%-50% of blindness in most African and Asian countries. Every dollar spent towards eliminating blindness and correcting vision in developing countries returns a four-fold on investment in economic terms. This places eliminating avoidable blindness among the most effective interventions available. Cataract surgeries are some of the most impactful on a person’s quality of life and require no follow up visits to a doctor.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) cataract is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment worldwide, accounting for nearly 20 million cases with nearly 5 million new cases each year.
Life With Hearing Loss and Deafness
Loss in hearing may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise, and aging.
Loss is hearing is defined as the ability to not hear as well as someone with normal hearing: hearting threshold of 25 dB or better in both ears. Hearing loss can affect one or both ears, causing difficulty to hear conversational speech or loud sounds.
Hard of hearing is defined as hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. Individuals who are hard of hearing communicate through spoken language and the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices.
Deafness is profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing in an individual. They often use sign language for communication.
- 60% of hearing loss is attributable to preventable causes, in children under the age of 15
- 1.1 billion individuals are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to high noise – high risk for ages between 12–35 years
- Over one third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss – greater prevalence in South Asia, Asia Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa
- The current production of hearing aids meets less than 10% of the worldwide need
Since 2016, UMR has been sending medical missions to places like Kenya, Jordan, and Bangladesh to perform cataract surgeries on patients in need. UMR has helped to restore the gift of sight to curable blind cases by providing quality medical care services to some of the most underprivileged including the elderly, disabled, refugees and vulnerable people in the community, many of whom live without any support from their relatives and governments. Under this initiative, in coordination with partner NGOs and Ministries of Health, over 1,000 cataract surgeries have been successfully performed free of cost to date thanks to our generous donors. Our surgeries have been 100% successful with no recurring complications, and cost as little as $100 per eye.
Hearing Aid in Palestine/Jordan
UMR established a partnership with Community Rehabilitation Centre for the Disabled/ Gaza camp (CRCD) – UNRWA, which works to integrate persons with disabilities in their communities and to improve their living conditions. The center helped UMR by offering its local program team and through conducting the need assessment for the project. UMR also partnered with Phonak Jordan, which provided a generous discount on the hearing devices and performed all medical examinations, measurements, and modeling before the devices distribution. It offered 2 years of device maintenance and monitoring in Jordan.
UMR’s Hearing Aid project helps Palestinian refugees in Gaza/Jerash camp and Syrian refugees in random camps in Al-Mafraq who have no health benefits and social security number.
When thousands of people in a community suffer from health issues, it can be nearly impossible for a society to grow and become self-sustainable. At UMR, we believe that in order to improve the quality of life in a community, everyone must have access to primary healthcare. As we continue our mission to help beneficiaries, we will be providing free cataract surgeries and hearing aids to as many people as possible.