The politics of avoidable blindness in latin america-surgery, solidarity, and solutions: The case of misión milagro

Tanya Zakrison, Francisco Armada, Nanky Rai, Carles Muntaner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Avoidable blindness, especially when caused by cataracts, is a disease primarily of the economically disadvantaged sectors of the population. With a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean, this paper focuses on the program Misión Milagro within its historical, political, and economic contexts. This initiative, led by the governments of Cuba and Venezuela, covers close to 35 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa. It is well-known throughout Latin America as close to 2 million patients have undergone free screening, corrective surgery, and rehabilitation since its inception in 2004. Misión Milagro shows that implementation of a massive initiative to curb avoidable blindness caused by cataracts in a relatively short time is feasible. The program is also built upon a unique model of international cooperation, which stresses social objectives and solidarity rather than hegemonic international initiatives built on commercial relationships. It also provides elements that could be applied to other public health issues of global or national relevance, not only to other low-middle-income countries, but also to high-income countries such as Canada.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-437
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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