Health

Eye Diseases Cost World $200bn Annually

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According to Dr. Naome Nsubuga, from Mulago hospital, the burden of blindness and visual impairment in Uganda is still high.


“Up to 8500 to 10000 children have severe visual impairment and other 4.5 million children are suffering from refractive error and other eye ailments in the whole of East Africa,” Nsubuga says.


Dr. Nsubuga further noted that several Ugandans will be benefiting from this through Mulago hospital in Kampala, Ruhoro Eye Care Mbarara and St. Benedictine Eye Care in Tororo.


Others to access these services include; Jinja, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Arua and Fort Portal.


”Blindness and visual impairment have serious effects on the educational and employment opportunities of children. Less than 10 percent of the blind children attend school, which is a worrying statistic,” said Dr. Nansubuga.


Blindness and visual impairment in African countries is brought by the life style of the children and the conditions under which they live, especially the dusty areas and the type of water they use.


About 4 million children up to 15 years will be benefiting directly from this project in the three East African countries in form of screening, treatment for basic eye problems, eye surgeries and eye glasses.


Brien Holden Vision Institute Consortium and Sight Savers are also directly involved in this project particularly in education and training.


Herbert Zaake from Standard Charted Bank said they expect to make surgeries on 5908 children in Uganda, 757 children will be referred for rehabilitation and education and 82 eye clinics will be established across the country.


Statistics from World Health Organisation indicate that there are 39 million blind people in the world, 264 million people have moderate visual impairment, 80 percent of the blindness and visual impairment can be avoided and 90 percent of the cases are in the developing world.


Globally, 1.4 million children are blind and less than 10 percent attend school, in developing countries only 25 percent of the blind people are employed and the proportion is expected to be far in developing countries.


The estimated economic cost of lost productivity from avoidable blindness is estimated at $200bn annually.

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