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World Sight Day 2008
World Sight Day was a great success in 2008, taking place on Thursday 9 October. The theme was 'Eyes on the Future: fighting visual impairment in later life'.
80% of people living with blindness are over 50. But three-quarters of blindness is needless -- it could have been prevented, treated or cured. Just because you're getting older doesn't mean you have to lose your sight.
Global Key Messages for World Sight Day 2008
- 75% of blindness is avoidable
- The world's populations are ageing
- Risks of cataract, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy dramatically increase with age
- 80% of blind people are over 50 y.o.
- Healthy eyes help active ageing, which helps older people live longer
- Timely intervention can preserve sight, so get your eyes tested regularly!
- Latest Planning for World Sight Day , 9th October 2008
- World Sight Day 2008 (WSD08) focuses on the ageing eye, and vision impairment in older people. The headline Eyes on the Future, and strapline - fighting vision impairment in later life recognises that in a world where populations are aging, and individuals are living longer, blindness from chronic conditions is also rising.
Members and supporting organisations were encouraged to append their own specific message to this headline.
Sightsavers events for World Sight Day 2008
Celebrations in Zambia included drama, poetry and choir performances, and marching through the streets.
In Sri Lanka, spectacles were distributed to poor elderly and poor school children in Colombo on World Sight Day. The Minister of Health attended. He also launched the website of the National V2020 Secretariat during the event.
Sightsavers in Bangladesh distributed posters and stickers containing messages about eye care to commemorate World Sight Day. Projects supported by Standard Chartered Bank (the Dhaka Urban Comprehensive Eye Care) and Grameenphone (eye camps) were also mentioned on the television.
Events in Pakistan included an awareness raising seminar at the Al-Ibrahim Eye Hospital in Karachi. Also in Karachi our partner LRBT conducted a lecture at Education Trust NASRA Secondary School about common eye conditions, their prevention and treatment. LRBT also aired a programme on the radio, highlighting the significance of World Sight Day.
In Haiti a mammoth screening operation took place between 9 - 19 October, in a number of different hospitals. A total of 2661 people examined. Over 1,267 reading glasses were given out, and 40 people were diagnosed with cataract and operated on.
World Sight Day celebrations were hosted in Malawi by our partner the Malawi Union of the Blind. The event kicked off with the Ministry of Deputy Minister of Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly, Mr. Yunus Mussa, MP, walking 1.5 km blindfold. There were also a variety of speeches, performances by choir groups, poems, traditional dances, band performances and drama by renowned actors in the country, and proceedings were covered by local radio, TV stations and newspapers.
In Kenya, outreach camps took place, with cataract surgeries for any patients identified. This included a school screening at Matuga Primary school, in Matuga Division. 700 children and 14 teachers attended. Further activities took place at Mogogosiek township Primary School in Bureti district, such as visually impaired people demonstrating skills such as bee keeping, knitting and tailoring, carpentry and joinery, weaving, rope making and home economics.
In Zanzibar the day was celebrated at Welezo Older Peoples' Home, and was marked with the addresses and speeches from government officials, Sightsavers and various eye care professionals. The guest of honour was the Minister of Health and Socially welfare, honourable Sultani Mugheir.
Our partner Susrut in North East India arranged a day out for seven corneal transplant patients to celebrate World Sight Day. The journey was made by bus from Salt Lake to Lake Town.