QRCS launches cataract surgery initiative for 1,300 patients in Afghanistan [EN/AR]

News and Press Release
Originally published


June 8th, 2021 Doha: Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has inaugurated a new initiative to perform 1,300 cataract surgeries and 2,300 medical examinations for poor patients with eye diseases in six Afghan provinces (Kunar, Laghman, Bamyan, Ghor, Kunduz, and Paktia).

The one-year project involves performing cataract examinations and procedures, providing medications and eyeglasses, implementing community awareness programs, and distributing informative fliers about prevention of eye diseases.

According to estimates, there are nearly 400,000 blind persons in Afghanistan and 1.5 million with low vision. Reports by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) of Afghanistan show that cataract is the main cause of blindness in 60% of cases. There remain 200,000 cases on waiting lists for cataract surgeries.

In light of the size of the problem, and inspired by its humanitarian commitment, QRCS launched this project to reduce vision loss rates and improve eye health among the populations of remote provinces.

The inaugural ceremony in Kunar was attended by the Manager of Provincial Health Bureau and representatives of local authorities, QRCS, the Afghan Education and Aid Organization, and the Organization for Promotion of Health and Community Development (OPHCD).

During the ceremony, Wasifullah Wasifi, Deputy Governor of Kunar, welcomed the team and thanked QRCS for its support to such beneficial projects for the Afghan people, particularly the poor. He promised to remove all issues and help the team to have the work accomplished.

Dr. Azizurrahman Safi, General Director of the Health Bureau of Kunar, said the project would enable hundreds of patients, mostly women and poor people, to restore their vision and live normally. “MOPH appreciates QRCS’s support for our people in many provinces and areas of assistance,” he added. “I hope there will be further support for the health sector at many levels”.

Zikrullah Hashimi, Deputy Manager of the Afghan Education and Aid Organization, highly valued the countrywide partnership with QRCS in different areas, such as water, food, and nonfood assistance.

He pointed out that this was the first health project to work on, with generous contribution from QRCS. He described working with QRCS as a source of pride, thanks to its credibility, systematic work, and good selection of beneficiaries.

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About Qatar Red Crescent (QRCS)

Established in 1978, Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) is a humanitarian volunteering organization that aims to assist and empower vulnerable individuals and communities without partiality or discrimination.

QRCS is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which consists of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and 191 National Societies. QRCS is also a member of several GCC, Arab, and Islamic organizations, such as the Islamic Committee of International Crescent and the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization (ARCO). In this legally recognized capacity, QRCS has access to disaster and conflict zones, thus serving as an auxiliary to the State of Qatar in its humanitarian efforts — a role that distinguishes it from other local charities and NGOs.

QRCS operates both locally and internationally and has ongoing international relief and development projects in a number of countries throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe. QRCS's humanitarian actions include providing support in disaster preparedness, disaster response, risk reduction, and disaster recovery. To mitigate the impact of disasters and improve the livelihoods of affected populations, QRCS provides medical services, healthcare, and social development to local communities. It is also active at the humanitarian advocacy front. With the help of a vast network of trained, committed staff and volunteers, QRCS aspires to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity.

QRCS works under the umbrella of the seven international humanitarian principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.