Islamic Relief opens eye hospital in Somalia

Islamic Relief has constructed an eye hospital in Mogadishu, which will offer free surgery and after care to people with cataracts.

Before this hospital was built, there were only two specialist eye hospitals in Somalia, so it was a struggle to meet the high demand for eye care. Today Islamic Relief’s hospital, which is funded by the Royal Charity Organization of Bahrain, has already screened and operated on over 2,000 people for cataracts.

Around 100,000 Somalis are fully or partially blind, according to the World Health Organization. Cataracts account for over half of the cases of developing blindness in Somalia and are one of the most common diseases in Somalia, due to malnutrition, long exposure to sunlight and political problems that have overshadowed basic health issues.

Most of the 2,000 people who have already received treatment are internally displaced people- those forced to flee their homes due to fighting, instability or food shortages.

Patients rest after cataract surgery

Halima Gudow is a 55-year-old grandmother who lives in a camp for displaced people in a district of Mogadishu. She said that her the deterioration of her sight had made it extremely difficult for her to look after her four orphaned grandchildren.

“I got depressed, worried and scared to death about losing my sight, because then how would three-month-old Amina survive? I developed this [cataract] which slowly began to taking away my sight. Every day I saw less and less”. Halima thinks she developed the problem after she walked 18 days in the bright hot sun to reach the camp in which she now lives.

Immediately after surgery, Halima could see the difference in her vision. “Alhamdulillah can’t believe it! I can’t believe that I am cured; now I will be able to see my grandchildren grow.”

Islamic Relief is also providing post-operative care to all patients through two hospitals in Mogadishu.