13057 Opening eyes to Bolivia

April 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

by Elisenda Pons
with Ulls de món
La Paz, Lo Alto, Bolivia, America

The report shows the activities to combat avoidable blindness that implements Eyes of the world in the city of El Alto, Bolivia, and specifically the miracle of restoring sight to blind people coming to the hospital, they return to see.

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The report

In El Alto, Bolivia, at 4,000 meters above sea level, there are thousands of people who are blind from preventable or curable with treatment easy in our environment which alteña population can not access due to lack of resources. The report “Opening eyes to Bolivia” shows the process, since a blind person reaches the hospital, is diagnosed and underwent surgery and, after surgery and a few hours of waiting, when he removed the blindfold, again see, as if it were a miracle.

Being witness to the process of restoring sight, for a photographer is a metaphor for light restore, or life.

In third world countries, to see again is much more than to see the light again, is regaining independence and hence the smile. A smile is the victory of the battle against poverty.

The report is made with a digital camera and photographs are copied Hahnemühle paper, which gives a special warmth.

To explain the feeling of loss of vision, I have given all the images a slight sepia-brown, aging of the lens metaphor.

The photographs have served as a tool for awareness of the poverty found in the satellite city of El Alto and publicize the health context and vision of Bolivia, as well as to show the performance of the Foundation to combat avoidable blindness.

Besides the process of restoring sight to visually impaired people without economic resources, which is the most magical, I have documented, the training conducted Eyes of the world of professional local ophthalmologists, students and residents, the visit to patients living in rural villages far from the capital, collaborations with other area hospitals, technical reviews for the graduating optical vision, …

A set of activities designed to open the eyes of the people of Bolivia and prevent thousands of cases of blindness, giving a little light. And, also, open the eyes of the people around us who give out the precarious situation in which many ophthalmic people worldwide.

The author

Elisenda Pons was born in Barcelona in 1968. He studied photography at the Institute of Photographic Studies of Catalonia and Arts at the University of Barcelona and before the end and was working with El Periódico de Catalunya, where spent 24 years making photos, covering the daily information and making reports. It also works sporadically with other publications and general interest magazines.

Of the many events in which he participated, highlights its involvement in the collective project “Hospital de Bellvitge, 25 Anys”, “Molts Meters of Underground” and where were you on Saturday at 12 noon? “.

He has made more than 20 exhibitions, both individual and collective, in galleries and centers like Espai B, the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Palau Robert or the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona.

He has also participated as a speaker at the Seminar Albarracin Photography and Journalism and has lectured at the FNAC in Barcelona.

The project

Create a network eye care in the city of El Alto and its rural area of influence, part of the public health system where people with visual impairments can be addressed.

Eyes of Bolivia. Improving the eye health of the population of El Alto and its rural area of influence.

-Venue: The program’s activities take place in La Paz, El Alto (Bolivia) and rural area of influence, located in the western part of the territory of South America.
Health services focus on primary care and not serve more than three quarters of the population for socioeconomic reasons and displacement.
Blindness and visual impairment affects more than 400,000 people. The main causes are diseases such as cataracts, pterygium, glaucoma and retinopathy.
There are about 242 ophthalmologists across the country, most of whom practice in private offices, and concentrated in major population centers.

-Other entities that collaborate in the project: Ministry of Health and Sports, Autonomous Municipal Government of El Alto, Departmental Health Service (SITES) and the Regional Health Service – (BEINGS El Alto.)

The project operates on the population of El Alto and its rural area of influence and is expected to reach about 673 539 people. It is visually impaired people without economic resources and their families and communities.

Regarding patients, are people who are affecting visual impairment to a life of poverty and exclusion and attending clinics and referral hospitals for review and appropriate treatment and restore vision, which for these people, means returning to self-sufficiency, work and care for her family.

And, in relation to the communities, the main groups are on the one hand, children from rural areas who reviews the vision for early detection of visual and community leaders, teachers, parents and mothers who are awareness about basic hygiene and eye health.

The entity

Ulls del món was born 2001 and aims to help the visually impaired without economic resources of poor countries to receive quality eye care by their local health services and to create conditions to reduce the incidence of diseases eye in each territory. Also, the public awareness of our environment on deficiencies in basic health those areas.

The main premises of the Foundation are the STAY (ie, the long-term impact it makes commitments with local partners), the development (whereas the training of local staff is the foundation for future development), the CO (integrated into the local health system and working with organizations and professionals) and EFFICIENCY (committing to efficiently manage and control the use of human, material and financial to receive).

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