Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Poverty and blindness

Blindness is associated with poverty in Pakistan a new study in the British Medical Journal reported. Lower access to and quality of eye care services are contributing factors. The study further reports that 75% of global blindness is preventable or treatable.

This is more then likely also the case in Africa. Africa, with 10% of the population, counts 19% of the worlds' blindness a study in Clinical and Expirimental Optometry reports. SightSavers International estimates that more then 27 million people in Africa are visually impaired and almost 7 million are blind.

Apart from the impacts on human dignity and loss of well-being, poverty and blindness have direct and indirect economic costs. The same document from SightSavers International mentioned that direct productivity losses in sub-Saharan Africa due to visual impairment was estimated at almost $1.83 billion in 2000, expected to rise to $4.3 billion in 2020.

Well-designed anti-poverty interventions are not only beneficial to the economy, they also reduce human suffering and improve well-being.

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