Sufferings of the visually challenged and blind people of Bangladesh know no bounds. The people belonging to our society are not generous enough to realize the woes of these people easily. These visually handicapped people face problems in every step of their lives. Doctors opine that many of the cases relating to visual impairment and blindness have remedy. To prevent blindness, first we have to create awareness among people. It is really a matter of regret that, every year many children are losing their eyesight because of our negligence. At the same time, many elderly people blame their fate for the blindness because of their ignorance. Maybe, if they were conscious, they could prevent their blindness. We know, there are many reasons behind visual impairment– cataract, lack of vitamin ‘A’ etc.
A study report says, in our country, one among every three children goes blind because of cataract problem. The study, conducted by the Child Sight foundation (CSF), also reveals that eighty per cent of the elderly people suffer from blindness due to cataract problem. Cataract has be cured through operation. The other reasons behind visual impairment should be identified and solved accordingly. When a person becomes a blind because of lack of vitamin `A’ or high diabetes, what should we say?
Blindness is a harsh reality for us. It is matter of concern for a nation. Everybody has the right to see this beautiful world. If a person turns blind because of absence of treatment, how we can bear it ?. So consciousness is very much important. Here we are not talking about that blindness which is not preventable or which has no remedy, rather that blindness which we have already discussed. When we see a person has cataract or someone has problem with eyesight, we should immediately send him/her to the doctor for proper treatment. At the same time, elderly persons should be taken to the doctor. He or she may be our relative or neighbor or any how familiar to us. There is no denying the fact that, in our country, we lack adequate medical service, and it is equally true regarding eye-care. Our eye-care medical service is mainly based on big cities. Let alone upazila level, even some district headquarters do not have proper management for treatment of eye-related diseases. On the other hand, this treatment is expensive and out of the reach of the rural people. When they feel any problem with eyes, they do not want to go to the hospital or doctor thinking of the cost and distance.
So, whenever we see any eye camp held in rural area by any organization or NGO, many people flock to it to take service. This kind of camp is effective and renders yeoman’s service. The Fred Hollows Foundation, which works for the blind in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through the Bangladesh National Institute of Ophthalmology and Hospital, is a ready example. The organization has completed such a camp in the village and the foundation is working in 14 districts of the country. It was successfully completed 10,000 cataract operations. Besides, it has taken many initiatives to prevent blindness. Child Sight Foundation (CSF) works specially for children.
Eyesight is one of the best gifts for the mankind. Only the visually impaired and blind people can realize it. Prevention of blindness is needed not only for an individual but also for the society.
When a person regains eyesight he/she can contribute for the economy by his/her works. There is a significant percentage of visually impaired people in the country. A study shows that there are 7,50,000 visually challenged people in the country.
Every year, the number is swelling. And eighty per cent of this visual impairment and blindness is preventable. Raising awareness, establishment of more eye-care centres, appointment of efficient doctors can help ensure proper treatment for the blind.
We know about the `vision 2020’, where to ensure eye-care and prevent he blindness Bangladesh vision `Right to sight’ program was launched in 1999 by the World Health Organization (Who) together with 20 international NGOs. Maybe, in 2019 we will get a good result of this vision. We appreciate both government and non-governmental initiative. In this way indeed we will reach a better position.