Imagine not being able to see your family. Imagine not being able to see the beauty around you, not being able to find your way around, not being able to do your daily activities with the breeze of ease you are used to. Imagine not being able to see. Who would take care of you? Without the proper care, life as you know it would fade into darkness… literally.
This is the reality for 40 million blind people of the 300 million visually impaired people in the world. In fact, 80% of global visual impairments are due to cataract, a watery clouding of the eye lenses, which is actually treatable. The treatment only requires a 15 minute surgery of $15 per eye to give back to these people the gift of their sight. However, in some parts of Africa, due to the cost, distance from their homes and a shortage of ophthalmologists, only few have been cured. This is where you can have an impact.
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in collaboration with more 30 international NGOs and charities have come together to save more people from going blind. In the second phase of the Alliance to Fight Avoidable Blindness (AFAB), we will be focusing on 12 countries across Africa from Burkina Faso to Djibouti with most having a Muslim population above 50%. The idea is simple – to prevent blindness where possible, to treat what is curable and in the long run, to have these countries take control of the program.
As with any branch of medicine, keeping up with the latest advances in technology and treatment is vital, and the Alliance recognizes this with its extensive capacity-building and training program. We recognize that long-term solutions require strong national programs and teams possessing the specialized skills and equipment to treat their patients.
One of the Alliance’s first approaches is hands-on training during treatment campaigns. Visiting Alliance surgeons and mobile clinics use the most advanced techniques compatible with the local context. Mastering these techniques and using the equipment that goes with them requires great skill. Each surgical team includes a specialist dedicated to training local ophthalmologists, not only on cataract surgery but also on the treatment of other eye conditions like glaucoma and trachoma.
Through these different approaches, the Alliance has trained more than 177 new specialists in the first phase of the program – technicians and administrative staff as well as doctors, helping local teams to be more effective all-round. According to Dr. Sankara Paté, chief of ophthalmology at Koudougou Hospital: “Part of the capacity development aspect of the program is to ‘source’ people in the regions who need further training. In this way, the Alliance helps create relationships between urban and rural ophthalmology teams.”
This time around, we hope to train at least 90 eye care specialists if not more. The African Institute of Tropical Ophthalmology (IOTA – Institut d’Ophtalmologie Tropicale de l’Afrique) is in charge of both training and retraining the specialists and these will take place in Mali. A 2-months training course will cost USD 9,500. In addition, the aim is to help secure not only a more stable future for these people but also to increase their ability to help those in most need of their expertise.
WHY FIGHT BLINDNESS?
In many of the countries we aim to help, to live without vision is to live without education, employment and independence. As a result, millions remain trapped in a cycle of poverty. On a national scale, this puts a huge strain on a country’s economy, and is a major obstacle to its development. In most of these countries, many of these people would have to rely on their family members to help in their everyday struggle. Extra costs are incurred and children are kept out of schools to guide their parents or grandparents. Simply put, one person going blind affects multiple lives.
Through GlobalSadaqah.com, you can now contribute to this much needed and noble program, and help us train eyecare specialists who can return the gift of sight to children and adults.
We may not be able to change the world alone, but with every person we empower with sight we come one step closer. Help us give the gift of sight and fight avoidable blindness together.
Disclaimer: This campaign is one of the many campaigns that collectively aim to raise money for the AFAB to fight cases of avoidable blindness in 12 countries in Africa.
|Mohamed Kuthubudeen S/o Jahaber Maricar||$7|
After meetings with ISFD – The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) which is the poverty alleviation arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, Global Sadaqah has partnered with them to raise funds to to prevent blindness where possible and to treat what is curable in Africa.
This campaign supports partial funding and the partners on the ground will receive all the money raised regardless if it reaches the goal or not.