Sahara Group has revealed that it embarks on interventions and sundry partnerships that promote opportunities for people to safeguard and improve their sight because, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 80 per cent of visual impairment is avoidable.
The same WHO report states that today, 285 million people across the globe have no access to enjoying life through the beauty of the eyes.
So, as the world marks World Sight Day today, the conglomerate said it is important for nations, the private sector and multilateral institutions to renew their commitment to raising public awareness of blindness and vision impairment as major international public health issues.
A statement from Sahara Group, which endows the Sahara Foundation’s Eye Care Programme, explained that of the approximately 285 million people worldwide that live with low vision and blindness, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment. “That 90 per cent of blind people live in low-income countries is an indication of a huge need for global collaboration towards eradicating poverty.
“These collaborative efforts, among others, must be targeted towards educating target audiences about blindness prevention through elaborate campaigns that should focus more on indigent populations across the globe,” said the statement.
Sahara Group’s intervention programmes lend credence to WHO report that about 80 per cent of visual impairment is avoidable, that is, readily treatable and/or preventable.
In addition, it is also a widely acknowledged fact that restoration of sight and blindness prevention strategies are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care.
Indeed, the statement tells the story of the 75-year-old Vincent K. Nkegbe, one of the beneficiaries of Sahara Foundation’s Eye Care Programme in Ghana.
“Prior to Sahara’s intervention, Vincent was blind and had relied on his 70-year-old best friend (Albert) to serve as his guide for over five years. Albert sells building materials and could only attend to his business after supporting his friend. He typically spent all his time shuttling between his office and attending to his best friend Vincent.
“ Today, Vincent K. Nkegbe, post the cataract surgery intervention by Sahara Foundation in the Ashanti Region – which recorded 350 successful surgeries – no longer requires guides to move around. For Vincent, the freedom he now has is priceless, whilst his friendship with Albert is even much stronger,” the statement said.
With over 9,000 free eye screening interventions and 2,500 eye surgeries across West Africa, Sahara Group remains resolute in its commitment to stand with the #MakeVisionCount campaign as well as the overall ideals of the World Sight Day movement.