Since 2001, Swiss ophthalmologists have been travelling to the poorest regions of Mexico at their own expense. There, during unpaid holidays, they operate for a fortnight free of charge on destitute people affected by cataracts, train local health personnel and equip hospitals with appropriate material and medical devices. This is intended to promote the independent continuation of the eye clinics.
- Continuation of humanitarian aid in Mexico
- Continuation of the Swiss doctors operating in the country
- Continuity of financial support for the purchase of materials, medical facilities, training costs and remuneration for staff.
Facts and figures
- The Mexico project has existed since 2001, or 22 years.
- The team of doctors has grown steadily from year to year.
- Up to and including 2018, more than 5,000 cataract operations, including pre- and post-operative examinations, have been successfully performed.
- 4 surgical units worth 500’000 Swiss francs have been set up.
- Mexican ophthalmologists were trained by Swiss ophthalmologists in 5 different locations to combat cataracts.
- The modern phaco method enables Mexican ophthalmologists to operate independently.
- The local and state authorities provide financial support for the states of Guerrero (Acapulco), Oaxaca (Salina Cruz) and Chiapas (Tuxtla Gutiérrez) for state eye clinics.
- Donations have already made it possible to purchase countless surgical instruments and several ophthalmic devices. The money is also used to train local doctors and for coordination with hospitals and authorities.
- The donations are carefully checked and approved by the auditors of the Mexico Project Association.
- The Mexico Project receives a great deal of support from various corporate partners and private individuals.
So far, Mexican doctors have been trained and hospitals equipped at the marked locations.
Institutions and persons supporting the Mexico project
Only through the support of other institutions and individuals can the success of the project be ensured in the long term.
The intensive cooperation with doctors, hospitals and other institutions as well as local partners ensures the success of the project year after year. In the exchange between the Swiss and the Mexican project staff, the next stays of the Swiss team are planned throughout the year and the necessary measures are organised.
The ophthalmologists in Mexico need clinical and surgical equipment for a simple and professional surgical procedure.
Thanks to companies that support the Mexico project by supplying equipment and materials, the doctors have the tools they need to help on site. Since then, four hospitals have already been fully equipped and supplied with the necessary material. In order to be sustainable, the equipment must be state of the art as well as meet the specific requirements of the region, such as robustness, easy maintenance and existing local service partners.
Over time, the project operators have succeeded in involving not only the Mexican authorities, but also the governments of the constituent states of Guerrero and Chiapas. This resulted in the agreement that the Mexican side would give the same amount as financial support for every dollar that the Swiss contributed to the project. The result is a new, modern and well-equipped eye clinic in Acapulco.
All the money donated goes exclusively to the project and thus to the destitute people in Mexico. Even the design and programming of the website was made available to the Mexico project free of charge.
Ophthalmologists and caregivers
From year to year, the Mexico project is supported by several doctors and other caregivers. The Swiss doctors travel to the poorest regions of Mexico at their own expense. There, during unpaid holiday time, they operate for a fortnight free of charge on destitute people affected by cataracts, train local health personnel and equip hospitals with appropriate material and medical devices. Other dedicated caregivers come from Switzerland or help directly on site.
As a result, since 2001 up to and including 2018, we have already been able to perform more than 5,000 cataract operations, including preliminary and follow-up examinations.
Active and passive employees
The annual medical trips to Mexico are not possible without the organisation and preparation in Switzerland and directly on site. Here we are supported by medical assistants and committed people from Switzerland or directly on site.
For children and adolescents, volunteers even created self-knitted stuffed animals.
Association ‘Project against Blindness in Mexico
Originally initiated by our anaesthesiologist Dr Manuel Villalvazo, the project has grown steadily over time. In 2005, we finally founded an association to better support projects dedicated to fighting blindness. At the same time, we try to open the eyes and hearts of those around us to this problem.