Dubai launches global campaign to eradicate blindness

September 3rd, 2008 - 8:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 3 (IANS) Marking the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Dubai Wednesday launched an initiative aimed at helping a global campaign to eradicate blindness that is likely to benefit one million people including in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, according to officials. Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched ‘Noor Dubai’, which would help the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) achieve its goals outlined in ‘Vision 2020: The Right to Sight’, according to a statement.

Stating that Ramadan was a month of generosity, charity and compassion, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed, chairman of the Dubai Event Management Corporation, said: “It is inherent of the Emirati people to do what they can to support those that are most in need.”

‘Noor Dubai’ will treat and provide health services to one million people suffering from treatable blindness and visual impairment in developing countries on a local, regional, and international scale.

The Dubai Health Authority will implement the ‘Noor Dubai’ agenda in collaboration with two leading international organizations: Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest volunteer organization with an international network of 1.3 million members in 202 countries, and ORBIS International, a global development organization whose mission is to treat and prevent blindness by strengthening the capacity of local eye health partners.

In addition to the UAE, ‘Noor Dubai’ will reach out to people in a number of other countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine.

The Noor Dubai initiative comes in the wake of the highly successful Dubai Cares campaign launched last year aimed at meeting the goals of the education category in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

“Just as Dubai Cares has become a beacon of hope and inspiration to many countries and international organisations, let us all come together to collectively work to ensure ‘Noor Dubai’ becomes another catalyst towards a bigger international commitment to cure eye diseases and protect children from preventable forms of blindness,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

Through its programmes, ‘Noor Dubai’ will help people suffering from three major eye diseases: cataract, which is the leading cause of blindness in the world affecting 18 million people representing 48 percent of the total number of blind people; strabismus that affects over five percent of children worldwide; and corneal opacities which is responsible for the blindness of 4.9 million people.

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