in collaboration with CBM Italia South Sudan is a country that has been in the international spotlight for years due to the decades-long civil conflicts that afflict it and the consequences they have on the population. A population where life expectancy is among the lowest in the world (about 54 years) and this year too a very high price has been paid due to the food famine that has hit 60% of citizens. In South Sudan there is a cycle that strongly links disability to poverty and vice versa. Alongside the population there is CBM, a humanitarian organization committed to the prevention and treatment of blindness and avoidable disability. It is no coincidence that 80% of people with disabilities around the world are in developing countries. In South Sudan, treating and preventing medical diseases, even those of simple diagnosis, is not easy. CBM is an international humanitarian organization with a long history: since its foundation in 1908, it has been involved in Africa, Latin America and Asia to promote not only the right to health, but also the inclusion of people with disabilities. The CBM Italia Onlus project in South Sudan In 2020 CBM launched the Break the Cycle campaign, which aims to break the cycle that links poverty to disability. Because for those with a disability in developing countries it is even more difficult to get out of poverty and in turn those who live in poverty are more likely to experience / have a disability. The Break the Cycle campaign aims to break this cycle by supporting CBM projects of health, education, independent life in developing countries, such as in South Sudan. “BECause Eye Care” is part of this context, in collaboration with the partners CUAMM and CORDAID and the Ministry of Health of the State of Central Equatoria, supported by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, a three-year project (2018-2021) which aims not only to extend care to the greatest number of possible people, but also to raise awareness of schools and communities so that people with disabilities are not marginalized. CBM has its main artery in the BEC Eye Center, located in the South Sudanese capital, Juba; a cutting-edge center specialized in the treatment of various pathologies, equipped with a surgical department. CBM is committed to supporting health activities in other parts of the country and more precisely in the Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria States, where basic eye care services are provided through mobile units also equipped with the possibility of providing surgical assistance and at eye centers; the most serious cases are treated at the BEC Center, which also specializes in the training of health personnel. The results of the project Let’s see the expected results for the end of 2021: ● 40,800 people visited and treated. ● 5,000 patients treated in the Mobile Units (double those achieved in December 2020). ● 2,000 patients operated on at the BEC Eye Center … ● 45 teachers trained in Vision Health. ● 117 figures trained in Primary Eye Care. ● Awareness raising events in Italy thanks also to research in collaboration with the Milan “Bicocca” University and the ON / OFF association. ● 63,200 people sensitized vision health The goals are ambitious. But in South Sudan too much time often passes from the onset of the disease to its cure. This is why it is important to act quickly. The story of little William Peter William Peter is a one month old baby from the state of Western Equatoria. The father is a farmer and the 20-year-old mother is a housewife. For the child they face the risky journey that leads from Lui Hospital to Juba, where there is the BEC Eye Center for examinations: William has glaucoma in his right eye and does not see well even in his left eye. The diagnosis is confirmed and a transfer to Mengo Eye Hospital in Uganda is necessary, for which CBM is activated. At the Ugandan hospital it is found that the right eye is not operable due to the damage caused by glaucoma, while it is possible to intervene on the left, the only hope to guarantee the child’s sight. BEC Ophthalmology Center found that the surgery on the left eye was successful. Peter and his parents go home; the child is monitored at the Lui clinic.Thanks to the synergy between the BEC center in South Sudan, which deals with the identification, analysis of the pathology, transport to Uganda and post-operative monitoring, and the Mengo Hospital in Uganda, managed to assure William Peter the possibility of a better future.
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