Qatar joins the fight against blindness

Qatar joins global push to eliminate avoidable loss of sight

To mark World Sight Day on October 8, Qatar pledged QR29.2m ($8m) to tackle preventable blindness.

In a tie-up with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), a network of NGOs and professionals promoting eye health, the Gulf country will reportedly support the global initiative VISION 2020 – a World Health Organisation (WHO) campaign to eliminate avoidable loss of sight.

The partnership aims to provide treatment and care for millions of blind children around the world and prevent blindness in developing countries. Some 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide, some 90 per cent of them in developing countries, according to IAPB. Cataracts, a disease easily treated by simple surgery, are the leading cause of blindness.

Qatar is also directing resources to fight preventable blindness in South Asia. On Thursday, Qatar and UK-based charity Orbis joined forces to raise QR4m ($1.1m) for children in Bangladesh. Orbis trains medics in developing countries to perform sight-saving surgery, including by performing operations in its Orbis Flying Eye Hospital. The medical charity trained 22,000 medical professionals in 2013, reaching 5.7 million people.

To read more about Orbis’ work, click here.

Photo credit: Orbis