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World Sight Day 2014

This image shows Joyce, a cataract patient, smiling and holding hands with several CBM staff in Tanzania
© CBM/argum/Einberger
Joyce (in the centre), our 10 millionth cataract patient, celebrates her sight with CBM staff in Tanzania

CBM celebrates World Sight Day on October 9th. This International Day puts the focus on visual impairments and calls for action for the prevention of avoidable blindness.

What is World Sight Day?

World Sight Day, celebrated this year on October 9, is an annual day of awareness around blindness and visual impairments.

The rolling theme for the World Sight Day is ‘Universal Eye Health’. Last year the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Avoidable Blindness and Visual Impairment 2014-2019 was approved by the World Health Assembly. The vision of this Global Action Plan (GAP) is a world where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential, and where there is universal access to comprehensive eye care, integrated health systems and rehabilitation services.

No More Avoidable Blindness

The ‘Call to Action’ this World Sight Day is ‘No More Avoidable Blindness’. One of the main targets of the GAP is reducing avoidable blindness by 25% in the next five years. Diseases such as trachoma, onchocerciasis (river blindness) and cataract are leading causes of global blindness; however according to the WHO 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured. The WHO also estimates that 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide, and 90% of them live in low – income settings (Fact Sheet N°282, August 2014).

Celebrate World Sight Day with CBM

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on 29th September 2014, that Ecuador has been officially declared free of river blindness, also known as onchocerciasis. Read more about this exciting news!

CBM along with partners recently launched the Kenya Trachoma Elimination Programme, geared toward the elimination of trachoma in Kenya by 2019. Read about the event here.

Meet Ato Degu, a 60-year-old farmer in the remote town of Dero Gebr, Ethiopia, who had blinding trachoma for ten years, and is now passionate about educating other members of his community about trachoma.

The President of CBM Italy - Prof. Mario Angi has been nominated as a 'Hero of Vision' by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Read his reflections about his work.  

Core mission of CBM

This image shows a young girl wearing spectacles ©CBM
Andrea Elizabeth Guevara Landauro, affected by congenital cataract, was successfully operated upon in Lima, Peru
CBM started off as an organisation primarily serving blind people. Our founder Pastor Ernst J. Christoffel founded a home in Malatia, Turkey for blind and otherwise disabled and orphaned children way back in 1908. Since then our policy has widened from serving blind people to giving all persons with disabilities access to basic healthcare services.

However restoring vision still remains one of our most fundamental activities. The CBM family worldwide has helped restore the miracle of sight to over 12 million people since 1966, helping transform lives… and we are still going strong!

Miracles day in Australia!

This image shows a young African boy with a patch on his eye wearing specs and smiling ©CBM
Gafaro is at home some months after surgery. His mother patches his left and stronger eye for several hours a day to train the weaker right eye. Gafaro, born in September 2007, had congenital bilateral cataract. He lives in a village near Kampala, Uganda, and is a CBM Representative Child.
In late August this year CBM Australia celebrated Miracles Day in Tanzania. Over 600,000 Aus dollars were raised to carry out 18,499 cataract surgeries (interesting fact: a cataract surgery can cost as little as 32 Aus dollars and takes place in under twelve minutes!). This campaign was broadcasted by fourteen Australian radio stations and four of them travelled along with the CBM Australia team to broadcast LIVE from CCBRT in Tanzania. This has been one of our most successful campaigns this year, restoring sight and hope to over 18,000 people!

CBM and Neglected Tropical Diseases

For many years CBM along with its partners has been actively combatting Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) such as trachoma and onchocerciasis (river blindness). NTDs present a largely hidden burden that affect the most marginalised and voiceless communities living in poverty and conflict zones. These diseases disproportionately affect children, women and persons with disability and flourish under conditions characterised by poor housing and sanitation, unsafe water, and limited access to basic health care.

CBM and partners primarily focus on prevention and treatment to combat trachoma and river blindness.

2013 statistics for river blindness:
• 67,098 community and health workers were trained
• 14,653 patients were rehabilitated
• 930,629 persons received health education
• 99% of the work has been done in Africa

2013 statistics for Trachoma:

• 19,991 surgeries were supported.
• 10,895,231 persons received health education in face washing and hygiene; over 87% in Africa.
• 680 community and health workers were trained.

For more information read our CBM NTD Report 2014.

Additionally CBM is an active member of the Neglected Tropical Disease NGDO Network - a global forum for non - government development organisations working to control NTDs. We attended the annual conference in September this year, along with 150 other participants. You can read about it here.

More reading

River Blindness Eradicated from Ecuador

The WHO has announced that Ecuador officially has been declared free of river blindness, also known as onchocerciasis


World Sight Day 2014 - Lao PDR

CBM partner; the National Ophthalmology Centre celebrated World Sight Day 2014 during 10-11 October 2014 in Vientiane, Champasak and Salavan


Commemorating World Sight Day 2014 in Vietnam

CBM partner, the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO) celebrated World Sight Day 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam


Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

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


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