October 09, 2005.
The Peninsular, Qatar.
Doha: A person goes blind every five seconds the world over and a child every minute. Sixty per cent of children die within one year of becoming blind. Some 161 million people are visually impaired and 37 million are blind. At least 75 per cent of blindness is avoidable and 90 per cent of avoidable blindness occurs in the developing world.
These figures were released last weekend by Standard Chartered Bank which has committed to raising $6m before the end of 2006 with the aim of eradicating avoidable blindness for one million people in 10 developing countries as part of a global initiative 'Vision 2020' that will result in saving $223bn over 20 years to help eradicate avoidable blindness worldwide. The initiative is spearheaded by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and a group of non-governmental organisations working in collaboration with these agencies.
The latest report from 'Vision 2020: The Right to Sight' which gives the above statistics is released to coincide with World Sight Day on October 13. The day is being observed around the world through a series of events. Standard Chartered Bank has also lined up events in the UK to mark the occasion.
Former British premier Sir John Major will present a documentary on the effects of blindness in the developing world as part of a campaign to end avoidable blindness.
John Major, whose late father's blindness could have been cured given today's methods, will present the documentary 'Seeing is Believing' which is made with the sponsorship of Standard Chartered Bank and will be shown across six continents today. It was shown yesterday as well.
Filmed in Africa, India and China, the documentary profiles the most destructive eye diseases through moving personal stories of people living with avoidable blindness. It tells the story of the work being done globally to help the millions who have blindness that can be cured, but who have no access to medical facilities. John Major is an ambassador for 'Vision 2020'.
Source URL: http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Business_News&subsection=Local+Business&month=October2005&file=Business_News200510093287.xml.
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