The magnitude of blindness may grow to a shocking 76 million in the world by 2020 against 45 million today barring concerted international intervention. Every five seconds, one person goes blind in the world and a child goes blind every minute.
The observations came during a series of meetings of International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness(IAPB) at Eye Infirmary Hospital in the port city yesterday. Experts referring to WHO report said, 45 million people worldwide are blind and 314 million people have significant vision impairment today.
The weeklong meetings participated by leading figures in the international blindness prevention movement and representing major NGOs and Professional Associations , centered on progress and future directions for Vision 2020, a joint initiative of IAPB and WHO with an international coalition of non-governmental organizations(NGOs), professional bodies, institutions and corporations, all united in the fight against needless sight loss.
The South East Asia Region, that includes Bangladesh having one-third of the world s blind population and over half of the worlds blind children has received attention, Bangladesh in particular, of Vision 2020 global programme, experts said.
Vision 2020 aims to raise the profile of vision impairment among key audiences, to mobilize resources for blindness prevention and to help governments to implement national eye care plans, incorporating three key principles as cost-effective disease control interventions, targeting diseases such as cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, secondly, human resource development and finally, development of infrastructure.
Mr. Zafarullah, Secretary, Ministry of Health, Government of Bangladesh, who is also Chairman of the National Committee of Blindness Prevention, highlighted the step taken so far by the Government, including approval of the national eye care plan by the National Economic Council and allocation of some fund for its implementation in the meeting. Prof. Rabiul Hossain, Founder of CEITC and Chairman of IAPB, South East Asia Region said, It is a great pleasure to welcome colleagues from around the world to Chittagong, and to participate in a fruitful series of meetings with leaders in the global blindness prevention movement.
Source: The Commercial Times