During 2011, the state-funded social program known as Mission Miracle performed 199,791 surgeries on patients that were suffering from vision problems, according to statements made by the program’s coordinator Manuel Pacheco on Wednesday.
Of the operations, Pacheco said 64,862 were for pterygium (tissue growth over the white part of the eye), 30,904 were for cataracts (clouding over the lens), and 2,619 for strabismus (eye misalignment). Of the latter type, 90% of cases were performed primarily on young children.
Pacheco said that since the creation of Mission Miracle in 2005, a total of 1.45 million surgeries and procedures have been performed. Of that number, 3,528 were performed on patients from other countries including Ecuador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay and Chile. Fifty one international flights were chartered for this purpose.
“Patients from other countries are brought to Venezuela on the airline Conviasa in order to have operations, and they can stay in the country from 8 to 14 days to recuperate,” Pacheco explained.
One of the program’s goals for 2012 is to increase international flights by 30% in order to help more people with vision problems that need medical attention.
Mission Miracle’s surgeries are carried out at 72 different health centers throughout Venezuela.
Founded in Cuba in 2004 with Venezuelan patients, the project was brought to Venezuela a year and a half later, in October 2005. It offers free care to needy patients from all over Latin America and the Caribbean.
Edited by Venezuelanalysis