Many undeveloped countries suffer from a variety of health concerns: infectious disease, malnutrition, etc. Blindness may seem like a less life-threatening issue in comparison. However, as pointed out by a recent article in The Guardian, impacting levels of childhood blindness is extremely important to the economic success of the developing country’s future.
Nearly 19 million children worldwide suffer from blindness. The number of blind children worldwide has grown due to more children surviving complicated births. Of these nearly 19 million, three quarters live in the poorest regions in Africa and Asia. In these areas eye-specialists are rare, but perhaps even more scarce are primary health workers. Primary health workers are community workers, village health workers and teachers that are trained to recognize early-onset eye problems. Without early prevention, the fight against preventable blindness becomes and almost impossible challenge. For many reasons, preventable blindness will lead to a lower quality of life for the rest of the child’s life.
Some of the key reasons it is important to focus on preventing child blindness is to prolong the child’s life and ensure a quality education. Blind children suffer a greater risk of dying within a few years of onset due to poor living conditions or from the condition that causes them to lose their sight. For those children who do survive, without proper sight they will not reap the full benefits of an education. It is reported that for every $1 spent on preventing blindness, the return is at least $4 back to the economy. This has a similar return on investment to education for children or supplying clean water. Without eyesight or education, future employment is also likely to be a challenge. Without future employment the child’s economic future becomes even grimmer.
It is still very common for those living in sub-Saharan Africa to consult traditional healer to treat blindness. As the Guardian article sites, a survey of healers showed a high level of interest by the healers to partner with clinics to learn about preventing blindness. It is hoped that a joint effort by the traditional healers and community clinicians could make a greater impact on preventable childhood blindness.
IGo believes in promoting healthy eyesight in Sub-Saharan countries by providing fee eye exams and/or prescription eyeglasses to children in need. By buying from us you are providing a child with very important healthcare. Thank you for your support.