Today is World Sight Day 2012, an international day of awareness for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and VISION 2020: The Right to Sight.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, there are currently 285 million people, who are visually impaired worldwide. About 39 million of them are blind, while 246 million have low vision.
About 80% of the total global visual impairment burden is preventable, while 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries.
In countries of the Central African region such as Cameroon, the main causes of avoidable blindness and visual impairment are cataract, uncorrected refractive error and glaucoma. With the recent increase in the prevalence of diabetes in these countries, it is likely that diabetic retinopathy may also contribute significantly to visual impairment.
Today, the combined Cataract Surgical Rate (CSR, number of cataract operations per million population in a given year) for the Central African Region hovers around 200, one of the lowest for any single sub-region in the world and far below the recommended CSR of 2000 for Africa.
Comparing CSRs from across Africa in 2006: the CSR was 78 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 101 in Angola, 120 in Central African Republic, 176 in Chad, 706 in Cameroon, 1440 in the Gambia, 1833 in Mauritania, 2687 in Mauritius and 4912 in Seychelles.
Through it’s mandate to prioritise the training of various cadres of eye care workers from francophone Africa (eye nurses, optometrists, ophthalmologists, ophthalmology subspecialists etc.) as well as by providing high volume, high quality eye care and surgical services, Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute plans, in partnership with existing eye care service providers and other stakeholders in Central Africa, to improve access to affordable quality care and reduce the burden of avoidable blindness in the sub region.