Perform Free Surgeries and Eye Exams
On October 23, 2011, a volunteer medical team comprised of optometrists, anesthesiologists and medical students will head to Guatemala as a part of Humanity First USA’s Gift of Sight (GoS). The GoS team will be providing another round of free eye exams and surgeries in the underdeveloped nation as part of its initiative to curb the rapid rise of vision loss. According to a global joint initiative to eliminate unnecessary blindness, 75 percent of vision loss is preventable or treatable. The GoS team aims to make even the slightest impact in preventing a devastating condition that is highly preventable.
The medical team includes Chicago resident and optometrist Dr. Amna Malik. This is her first volunteer experience with Humanity First, USA, and she will be joining the team as the leader of the optometry clinic - a responsibility which involves providing patients with comprehensive eye exams and treating ocular disease. The team also includes Gift of Sight director and ophthalmologist Dr. Ahsan Khan and anesthesiologist Dr. Saqib Ali, as well as local Guatemalan doctors and medical residents.
The first trip in September 2010 was a resounding success - a small team of volunteers provided free eye exams for hundreds of patients and successfully performed over 25 cataract surgeries. This year, the volunteer team will be staying in Chichicastenango, a town in Southwestern Guatemala, and holding a weeklong clinic at Clinica Salud y Paz. In addition to providing surgeries and eye exams free of charge, the doctor’s will also be teaching the latest surgical techniques to local medical residents in efforts to empower the local community and ensure sustainability.
Humanity First is registered in 33 countries across 6 continents, and has been working on human development projects and responding to disasters since 1995. Over 93 percent of donated funds are spent directly on aid projects. Humanity First also receives tremendous support from organizations to help support their humanitarian missions. For this upcoming Guatemala mission, Lions Club International has donated thousands of recycled prescription spectacles, Allergan Inc. has donated over 600 bottles of eye medication and Bausch & Lomb has donated 50 intraocular lenses for the eye surgeries. To support the team, you can make a donation through the Gift of Sight FirstGiving page.
The trip will be documented by a photographer and blogger, Saifra Khan, also a resident of Chicago. Follow the team’s progress on the official blog: http://hfguatemala.tumblr.com.
Humanity First is registered in 43 countries across 6 continents, and has been working on human development projects and responding to disasters since 1994. These have included the earthquakes in Turkey, Pakistan, Japan and Iran, floods in Africa and Latin America, hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) , tornado's (Kansas) and wild fires (California) in the USA, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and conflicts in Eastern Europe.
Since its inception and IRS registration in 2004, Humanity First has been focused on spending most of the raised funds on direct program related expenses. As a result, more than 90% of its funds are in that expense category. This is achieved through dedicated volunteers in its management, and program operation teams.