The Spanish surgeon Elena Barraquer has operated this week to 250 people with cataracts in Angola, a country in which it has already operated on a thousand patients with low income in four years.
"We have registered more than 500 people who could not be operated on this occasion, and therefore, we will try to be back in less than a year," Teté Ferreiro, director of the Elena Barraquer Foundation, told Efe from Luanda.
This work is the fruit of an agreement signed in 2014 between the Angolan health authorities and the Sphera Global Health Care group, executed in the field by this Catalan foundation that finances the necessary medical and surgical equipment.
Surgical interventions began on October 8, and within five days and completely free of charge, Barraquer operated on all patients, assisted by a team of optometrists, anesthetists, assistant ophthalmologists and Spanish nurses.
The previous missions to this African country were carried out in 2014 and 2015, in the Josina Machel and Ophthalmological hospitals in Luanda, respectively, while the third occurred in the Sacomar Hospital in the province of Namibe, in the southwest of the country, in the year 2016
"The only solution for this pathology is surgery, unfortunately the current techniques, more efficient and safer, have a high cost and specialized training, which is a barrier for ordinary people in certain countries," said the director. .
Cataracts are responsible for 50% of cases of blindness in the world, and the main cause in developing countries; in which malnutrition and high solar exposure favor its rapid onset and rapid progression.
Only the medical material needed to perform cataract surgery costs 190 euros, according to Ferreiro, unattainable for many Angolans.
The waiting list of the General Hospital of Luanda – like many others in the country – is endless, and also groups those suffering from other ocular disorders such as glaucoma, pterygium, multiple infections or serious disorders of the cornea.