ORBIS To Raise $12M To Create 50 Pediatric Eye Care Centers in
India by 2010
New York, NY, August 28, 2006 – Almost a fifth of the world’s blind children live in India and many more are visually impaired and at risk of permanently losing their sight. To respond to this urgent need, ORBIS International today announced a new initiative to establish 50 pediatric care centers throughout
India by 2010.
“This bold yet achievable goal represents one-half of the Indian government’s projected need for 100 such centers by 2020,” said Mohan Thazhathu, chief operating officer, ORBIS International. “Meeting it will help ensure that
India’s children have adequate access to quality eye care for generations to come.”
Of a total population of 1 billion, as many as 15 million people are blind in
India. Of particular concern are the 320,000 Indian children under the age of 16 who suffer from needless blindness and comprise 19% of the global total – more than in any other country.
Approximately half of these children are blind due to conditions that are either preventable or treatable. Causes of blindness include Vitamin A deficiency, cataract, retinal conditions and optic atrophy. An additional 9.2 million children are visually impaired in
India, most from conditions that could be treated easily with appropriate and timely diagnosis and the provision of eyeglasses.
Working closely with the Indian Government and leading eye care institutions, ORBIS is helping to deliver the Vision 2020 – Government of
India Plan of Action to eradicate blindness. Two of the major challenges to address in
India are the lack of eye care professionals trained to treat children, and the lack of specialized facilities with the institutional capacity to support the provision of quality pediatric eye care services. ORBIS’s ambitious childhood blindness initiative is addressing the gap in both of these areas.
The budget for this initiative is $18 million, one-third of which has already been raised through appeals to ORBIS donors worldwide. ORBIS is now seeking the remaining $12 million from a consortium of individuals, corporations, foundations and government sources in the
United States and abroad.
There are currently only 12 appropriately equipped pediatric eye care centers in the whole of
India. ORBIS has helped developed nine of these.
RBIS began working in
India in 1988 by offering intensive training program for ophthalmologists and other eye care professionals on board the
Hospital. In 1998, ORBIS identified
India as a priority country for long-term programming, and a permanent office was established in
Delhi in 2000. Today, the ORBIS India works with strategic eye care partners to implement comprehensive, multi-year projects to develop sustainable eye care infrastructure and improve the delivery of eye care services. More than 470,000 adults and children have benefited from access to enhanced or new eye care services, with more than 97,000 receiving medical care or surgery.
About ORBIS International
Nonprofit ORBIS International is a global network of care dedicated to saving sight worldwide. Since 1982, our volunteers and staff have directly restored the vision and transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in more than 80 countries. At the same time, ORBIS has been building local capacity to provide eye care in those countries by training more than 100,000 eye care professionals aboard the
Hospital, in local hospitals, and through long-term national blindness prevention programs in
Brooke Johnson, Public Relations, ORBIS International: +1(646) 674-5532, firstname.lastname@example.org