PREPARATION AND PLANNING
HELP's base of operations is located in La Cieba (population 100,000) where we offer medical services to the city and its outlying areas. Our team includes eye surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, ocularists, optometrists and general helpers - all of whom travel to La Cieba at their own expense. Each annual trip involves months of advanced preparation securing the supplies and medical equipment necessary to provide care, as well as coordinating transportation, lodging and meals for the team.
Honduras is one of five Central American countries, roughly the size of the state of Virginia. Home to 7 million people, it is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 53% of the population living below the poverty line. There are very few physicians in Honduras and as a result they are overwhelmed by the number of poor patients without care. Roughly 30% of the country receives no healthcare and 83% are uninsured. Health expenditure is among the lowest in Central America. Our team aspires to have a meaningful impact by helping those that are disadvantaged and would otherwise not have the access nor the means to pay for these vision saving services.
HOW WE HELP
We plan and organize from the USA throughout the year, so that each year our team can spend a week working on needy patients in LaCeiba. We work with a network of volunteer groups scattered throughout Honduras who will refer needy patients. Our close friends and colleagues, Drs Alicia and Danillo Ponce, who live and work in LaCeiba, pre screen many of these patients so that we can more efficiently use our time when we are there. Each year our team on average performs over 400 examinations and 100 operations. Due to the lack of access to care, many diseases encountered are far more advanced than what is typically seen in the US.
Currently we have the ability to perform routine eye examinations, fit used donated glasses, diagnose and treat various eye disorders including dry eyes, allergies, and glaucoma, perform cataract surgery, and diagnose and treat corneal diseases, sometimes requiring cornea transplantation. We also perform eye muscle surgery for "crossed eyes" (strabismus), and perform oculoplastic surgery for congenital, traumatic, and age related conditions around the eye such as fractures, lacerations, eyelid and orbital tumors, blocked tear ducts, drooping and sagging eyelids affecting vision, nerve palsies, and removal of very diseased blind eyes and fitting of artificial eyes. Since inception, HELP has performed over 10,000 examinations and 2,000 surgeries on our missions.
Some problems require more intensive use of less portable technology. We aspire to also provide retina care, diabetic care, and more. We are only limited by time and resources. With your help, HELP can continue this work and expand our services.
Our mission is to provide these services for as long as we are able, to dedicate ourselves to aiding those far less fortunate than we are, to be grateful for our training and to share that knowledge with others, to give our time and assistance, and to bring the gift of sight to all those that need our HELP.