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APOC wins António Champalimaud Vision Award 2011

A man receiving an award on a podium
© Rui Ochôa/Champalimaud Foundation
Dr Paul-Samson Lusamba-Dikassa (APOC Director, second left) being given the António Champalimaud Vision Award 2011 by Portuguese President of the Republic, Anibal Cavaco Silva and Mrs. Leonor Beleza, the Champalimaud Foundation President, in Lisbon.

On 9 September 2011 the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) received the António Champalimaud Vision Award in recognition of its work in the prevention of visual impairment and blindness. As an APOC partner, CBM congratulates all programme participants and looks forward to continuing our long-standing relationship.

Prestigious award

The António Champalimaud Vision Award was created in 2006 and is supported by the World Health Organisation’s 'Vision 2020: The Right to Sight'. Every odd year it recognises the work carried out by organisations working locally in the prevention of and the fight against blindness and other eye disorders, mainly in developing countries. In 2011, the one million euro award was given to the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), of which CBM is a partner.

CBM congratulates APOC and all programme partners and looks forward to continuing our long-standing relationship in the fight against onchocerciasis (river blindness).

CBM’s experience and commitment fighting river blindness

Onchocerciasis is one of the major Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). They present a largely hidden burden affecting the most marginalised and voiceless communities living in poverty and conflict zones.

CBM has been successfully involved in preventing blindness from onchocerciasis for more than three decades, closely collaborating with communities, APOC and other stakeholders.

Today, CBM is active mainly in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Burundi and Southern Sudan supporting the annual treatment with Ivermectin through Community Directed Implementation (CDI). In 2010 CBM supported 11,376,728 treatments - a further increase of ca. 2.5 million from 2009.

Long-standing partnership with APOC

APOC is rightfully seen as one of the leading public health success stories in Africa. Ownership by committed governments, a strong and unique partnership and a community directed approach have led to high geographic and therapeutic coverage, even in often-difficult circumstances. CBM’s experience with using CDI structures for primary eye care interventions demonstrates the effectiveness of such add-on interventions.

With its innovative approach, the APOC partnership model has proven to be one of the most outstanding success stories in onchocerciasis control.  The lessons learned are essential for strengthening national health systems (with a focus on public health care) and in developing programmes tailored to the specific situation.

CBM is proud of its strong partnership with APOC and will continue to fight river blindness in the poorest regions of the world.

Further reading

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

CBM supporting Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) programmes in areas where they are identified as a public health problem


VISION 2020 – A global alliance

In 1999 CBM was one of the founding organisations to launch VISION 2020, a global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020



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