American Volunteer Doctors Play Crucial Role in Stopping Blindness Worldwide
NEW YORK, NY, Feb 28, 2005
─ While India is the second most populous country in the world, it rises to the number one position when considering the prevalence of blindness.
This is why New York-based ORBIS—a non-profit agency devoted to the millions who are unnecessarily blind—and its DC-10 aircraft equipped with a complete operating room designed to transfer sight saving techniques to local medical professionals, are there most of February and March. And it is why the President of India, Dr Abdul Kalam, will come aboard the ORBIS DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital on March 10 and meet the international team.
In India, there are an estimated 15 million blind people, more than any other country in the world. Of these, 320,000 are children. But more than half of childhood blindness in the country could be avoided with adequate trained pediatric eye care personnel and more facilities. Sixty three percent of the cases of blindness are due to cataracts, a condition that is readily treated in the United States.
"We must do something to effectively alleviate the suffering of tens of millions of people who go blind despite medicines and treatments that can prevent their condition," said Oliver Foot, president of ORBIS International. "The human toll is incalculable; the economic cost runs into many billions. Training, providing more infrastructure and public health education, combined with the considerable influence of foreign leaders will help contain this problem and in the long run, rid the global community of avoidable blindness. That’s our goal."
Notes to the editor:
- 75% of world blindness is avoidable. Nearly 37 million people worldwide are blind; 28 million simply do not need to be.
- Nine out of ten blind people are in the developing world. The knowledge and technology to treat most blindness already exists, but it remains out of reach for most of the world's poor.
- ORBIS exists to eliminate avoidable blindness worldwide. By working in partnership with local health professionals and members of the community, ORBIS is improving the quality of eye care available for people where the need is greatest. Visit www.orbis.org.
For Information, contact: Brooke Johnson
Senior Manager, US Public Relations
+1 (646) 674-5532