Houaphan is very sparsely populated and 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. High mountains, densely wooded forests and few roads mean that many areas of the country are poorly accessible. The different languages and customs of the many minority groups make communication difficult.
In 2011, the Eye Care Foundation started the first phase of project Eye Care. In the beginning, sporadic eye camps were organized in the capital Vientiane and the neighbouring province of Xieng Khouang. The appointment of Dr. Oui as general surgeon and ophthalmologist at the provincial hospital of Houaphan in 2011 has resulted in annual visits to all provincial districts to perform eye operations.
The Eye Care Foundation invests in eye care education and training of local staff, which has improved the quality of eye care whilst simultaneously guaranteeing the sustainability of the project.
In Houaphan eye care must be brought closer to the villagers. For this reason local health care staff are trained in eye care. They play an important role in raising the awareness of the local population.
In 2015 Lia Marmelstein-King was a volunteer for the Eye Care Foundation and she made a video to give an impression of the eye care project in Houaphan.