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salaUno

salaUno offers affordable and high quality eye care services to low and middle income populations in Mexico.

Program goals

The five-year (2016) objective of salaUno is to cover at least 25% of the annual cataract incidence; this will constitute important steps towards eradicating needless blindness in Mexico. Eye related diseases are the second cause of disability in Mexico. Approximately 60% of Mexicans have some sort of visual disability. Blindness is an important economic and social problem and 50% of cases are avoidable by means of cataracts surgery. It is estimated that there are currently two million untreated cases and 700,000 blind eyes due to cataract in Mexico. The annual incidence is 300,000 eyes, while only 135,000 surgeries are performed per year.

Key program components

Since August 2011, the company offers five services in its pilot clinic, covering 85% of eye care illnesses:

  • Cataracts surgery
  • Photocoagulation laser to treat diabetic retinopathy
  • Pterygium surgery
  • Glaucoma treatment
  • Prescription glasses

In 2012, salaUno will also offer corneal transplants. Cataracts surgery is the backbone of the model and the most affordable of salaUno´s solutions for this condition is offered at 1/3 of market price of eye care hospitals in Mexico. This price is possible because the company has introduced small incision cataract surgeries (SICS) to Mexico, and operates under a high volume model, taking advantage of economies of scale. SICS offers excellent medical results at a fraction of the cost. It is widely used in developing countries and is superior in several clinical and economical aspects to traditional extra-capsular surgeries, which currently accounts for 50% of cataract surgeries performed in Mexico. SalaUno will focus on eye care until at least 2016.

In addition to utilizing a high volume model, the program has also partnered with a local cinema who has agreed to provide 100 free surgeries per month. Due to minimal information being provided at the local level regarding the problems of cataracts and needless blindness, the clinic conducts weekend campaigns to provide free screenings for eye problems in villages, completely free of cost.

In May 2012, salaUno was certified as a public health provider for the Seguro Popular (a public insurance for low-income/self-employed individuals) and has already operated more than 30 individuals through this scheme. Currently operating one pilot clinic, salaUno plans to open 5 satellite clinics by end of 2012. Since the pilot clinic opened, 22,000 patients received an eye consultation, 21,000 patients were screened in outreach camps, 4,000 people received sight-restoring cataract surgeries, and more than 4,200 pairs of glasses were dispensed.