IAPB to seek funds for prevention of blindness

DUBAI - The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is looking at major cooperation and funding in Dubai when it plays host to the Seventh General Assembly of IAPB in September this year.

By (By a staff reporter)

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Published: Mon 31 May 2004, 9:54 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:33 AM

Dr Abdulaziz I. Al Rahji, Co-Chairman, EMR, IAPB and Senior Consultant, Cornea Refractive Surgery, King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, told reporters on Sunday that there were an estimated 180 million people worldwide who are visually disabled. Of these, between 40 and 45 million persons are totally blind.

"We need cooperation and funding and we hope to achieve this in our meeting. We have a limited income, and we rely on funding from other organisations. In the East Mediterranean Region (EMR), we have the personnel and manpower but no financial support," he said at a Press conference held at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) Head Office on Sunday.

Awadh Al Seghayer, Director of Dubai Convention Bureau (DCB) operated by DTCM, was also present to discuss the DTCM's role in the conference which is being held in cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO), UAE Ministry of Health, and DCB.

Being held for the first time in the EMR, the Dubai conference will take place from September 20 to 24 at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel. The organisation will also hold a preparatory meeting from September 16 to 19. The conference is expected to attract 500 to 600 participants. The theme for this 7th General Assembly is "Partnership in Vision 2020".

Established in 1975, the IAPB is a non-profit, coordinating, umbrella organisation which leads an international effort in mobilising resources for blindness prevention activities. Its first major achievement was to promote the establishment of a WHO programme for the Prevention of Blindness. WHO and a task force of international NGOs have jointly prepared and launched a common agenda for global action, "Vision 2020, The Right to Sight"

Dr Al Rahji said the initiative was aimed at getting rid of 80 per cent of cases of treatable and preventable blindness. For this initiative, the world was divided into seven regions, including the EMR which covers 22 Arab countries including Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

The UAE is among the first countries in the EMR which has initiated the signing of the global initiative for IAPB.

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