Christian eye doctor killed in Afghanistan

NOOR Provincial Ophthalmic Care (POC) in Kabul. Photo: CBM

NOOR Provincial Ophthalmic Care (POC) in Kabul. Photo: CBM

Dr Karen Woo,  a British opthalmic doctor working in the north eastern province of Badakhshan in Afghanistan, with Christian Blind Mission (CBM) and partner agency IAM was shot and killed with her team, on Friday.

The group were were returning from an eye medical outreach visit in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan.

CBM, who have been working closely with IAM (International Assistance Mission)  in Afghanistan for 30 years, expressed their deep condolences to the families and friends of Karen and her colleagues.

Mike Davies OBE, CBM’s Head of Overseas Programmes, said: "this tragic and needless loss of life will be felt not only by the families and friends of Karen and her colleagues, but by the people of Afghanistan itself, whom she died serving."

CBM is a major financial supporter of the NOOR Eye Care Program. NOOR provides eye care to all those who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. NOOR provide affordable, high quality ophthalmic medications and eyeglasses for IAM and other eye care providers; to train ophthalmic care providers at all levels; to reach a higher level of technical and financial sustainability; and to support the goals of the Vision 2020 initiative.

The Afghanistan-based IAM has been almost continuously present in Afghanistan since 1966, providing a wide range of medical services to people with visual, physical and mental health problems. Its work is facilitated by regular grants from CBM.

CBM has been present in Afghanistan since 1978, supporting a network of eight Afghan agencies working in the prevention of blindness field, and provides annual financial support amounting to about £250,000 a year.

With CBM help, the Kabul-based Noor Eye Hospital alone in 2009 was able to perform 15,000 sight-restoring operations on destitute cataract patients.

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