In an effort to reduce avoidable blindness in the country, international non-government organisation, Sightsavers, launched a project on Sunday, to provide eye care services at the doorstep of people suffering from cataracts, said a press release.
The project, titled “The Right to Health: Breaking down Barriers to Eye Health in South Asia”, was unveiled in the city with an additional objective to eradicate poverty and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Minister for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Mustafa Jabbar, the chief guest at the ceremony, said disabilities will no more be any barrier to development in the ‘Digital Bangladesh’.
He highlighted the measures the present government has taken across the country for the development of the people with disabilities. He hailed Sightsavers for offering eye health services particularly for the poor and underprivileged people.
Speakers at the ceremony said an estimated 848,000 people aged 30 years and above are blind in Bangladesh where cataract is the predominant cause (79.6 percent) of bilateral blindness.
Over 6 million people in the country need vision correction while approximately 150,000 irreversible blind require rehabilitation, they said.
Sightsavers Country Director Khondoker Ariful Islam presided over the ceremony, while Social Welfare Ministry Additional Secretary Abu Muhammad Yousuf, NGO Affairs Bureau Director Dr Md Helal Uddin, Directorate General of Health Services Additional Director General Dr AHM Enayet Hussain and others also spoke during the occasion.
Under the three-year Sightsaver project, cataract surgeries will be conducted on 43,136 patients, while 3,14,510 people will receive refraction tests, 7,05,350 people will be offered non-surgical treatment for minor eye problems, 1,800 government frontline health workers will be trained to identify and refer patients and 1,621 outreach programme will be organised.
The project, supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, will continue until June 2021 initially in four districts — Kurigram, Narshingdi, Rangpur and Sirajganj.unb