Three years after the Operation Miracle program began, one million people from 28 Third World countries have benefited from free eye surgery, said Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage on Sunday in Santiago de Cuba.
Lage made the announcement after the signing 14 new Cuba-Venezuela integration agreements, at a ceremony attended by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban First Vice President Raul Castro.
Cuba, with support from Venezuela, has promoted Operation Miracle since July 10, 2004, when the first 50 eye surgeries took place. The goal is to attend to and recover the vision of six million low-income Latin American and Caribbean people.
Cuban doctors and technicians, with the support of state-of-the-art opthalmologic technology, are hard at work creating the capacity to operate annually on a million patients. The noble effort is developed within the framework of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), which besides promoting mutually beneficial trade also seeks the social development of the continent.
According to statistics from international health organizations, some 50 million people worldwide are blind, a million and a half of those under sixteen.
The World Health Organization recently informed that in Latin America five million children, teenagers and adults need diverse eye operations, while in the Caribbean the figure is a half million.