OPHTHALMIC EDUCATION VISION 2020 – Part 4 [Archives:2001/24/Health]

June 11 2001


Dr. Mahfouth A Bamashmus
Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Ibn Al-Haitham Clinic
University of Science & Technology, Sana’a
[email protected]

Ahmed Al-Shabooti MD
Head of Ophthalmology Department
Al-Thawra Hospital, Sana’a

Every 5 seconds one person in our world goes blind and a child goes blind every minute. Our mission is to eliminate the main causes of blindness in order to give all people in the world, particularly the millions of needlessly blind, the right to sight.
National prevention of blindness programs are usually planned and run by prevention of blindness committees (PBC). Ideally all groups contributing to prevention of blindness should be represented on the PBC.
The key-players in National Programs in vision 2020 are:
.Ministry of Health
An effective prevention of blindness program needs official government support. The representative should be sufficiently senior to act as an effective advocate for prevention of blindness within the Ministry. They should have the authority to make decisions that will affect prevention of blindness. It can be very frustrating to spend long periods formulating plans and proposals, only to have them ignored by the Ministry of Health.
.Eye care professionals
These should include not only ophthalmologists, but also para-medical eye workers, optometrists and eye nurses. All of these are involved in prevention of blindness, and we all have different insights and priorities. An effective program will make good use of all these differing skills.
The non-governmental organizations and international non-governmental development organization usually provide the funds for prevention of blindness in developing countries. Sadly, NGO’s and INGDO’s may be viewed as a source of cash! Major NGO’s and INGDO’s have many years of experience of prevention of blindness programs in many different countries. This expertise is at least as important as their money. The ideal is partnership, in which the PBC, INDGO and NGO sit together and plan how they can contribute more effectively.
.Major institutions
Major teaching institutions, and other successful centers of excellence, should be represented on the PBC. Other programs may be able to learn from their experience, and decisions about human resource development will have important implications for their training programs.
.Patient’s representative
Few PBC have any lay representatives, which is a pity. We need to be reminded that we are not dealing with a million cataract, but with a million people, and their families, every one of whom is experiencing different problems because of their visual disability.
.Other expertise / celebrities
The main obstacles to prevention of blindness are not technical or clinical, but are due to failures in management and administration. More skilled managers and business people should be appointed to PBC’s, not because they are interested in prevention of blindness, but because they know how to manage a large enterprise successfully and profitably.
We need advocates who will raise awareness of prevention of blindness. This is most likely to be achieved by involving a local celebrity Ð a sponsoring personality or a traditional leader.
Vision 2020 aims to prevent at additional 100 million men, women and children from becoming blind by the year 2020.
Reference: WHO launches Vision 2020 to combat avoidable blindness. Public
Health Rep. 1999