POB Eye Camp Coverage in Gulf News, Dubai

Untreated vision problems can blind children

Neglecting the problem will adversely affect a child's learning, Specialist says

  • By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 January 19, 2011
  • Gulf News

  • Meher and Megan... The two sisters, like many other children of their age, experience fears and anxieties.
  • Image Credit: Supplied picture

Dubai: Weak eyesight in children must be taken seriously by their parents as it could lead to blindness if left untreated, said a leading ophthalmologist from Pakistan.

"Weak eyesight in children is a common feature that not only affects the productivity of the nation but also the learning process," Dr Intizar Hussain, Chairman of the Prevention of Blindness (POB) Trust, said.

The POB is a Pakistani volunteer eye care organisation with the mission of preventing blindness and preserving sight.

Dr Hussain along with his five-member team spoke to a gathering at the Pakistan Association in Dubai about their volunteer work in preventing blindness around the world.

The organisation focuses on poor countries in Africa. Last week they were in Cameroon where they set up a free eye care camp and operated on hundreds of patients suffering various ocular ailments.

The POB is the first organisation of its kind and comprises leading ophthalmologists who devote their efforts to treating the poor free of charge.

The event in Dubai was attended by Mansoor Bajawa, Pakistan commercial consul in Dubai, and Mir Azhar Ali Talpur, welfare consul, in addition to leading Pakistani community members.

Dr Hussain said that the POB Trust was acting as a driving force to raise global awareness of the need to prevent blindness in developing countries.

"We have conducted thousands of cataract surgeries in nine countries through community-based free eye care camps," he said.

Recipient country

The POB Trust identifies an eye campsite in the recipient country. A team of surgeons and paramedics along with the equipment, consumables and medicines needed, goes to that country to treat patients.

He said the prime objective of the POB Trust was to promote and sustain a global campaign against all forms of avoidable blindness, with an emphasis on deprived communities.

"Eye check-ups should be a yearly feature in our health planning and permission to adopt certain professions like driving should be linked with normal eyesight," he added. Dr Hussain said they consider all patients equally without discrimination.

"No one is denied services on the basis of religion, race, sex, colour, age, or national origin," he said.

From its inception in 2007, the Trust has examined more than 516,816 patients and performed around 50,441 surgeries.

The Trust has so far organised 305 free eye care camps nationwide and 48 free camps in Sudan, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Chad, Senegal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Burkina Faso.

Speaking at the event, Riaz Farooq Sahi pledged to provide all possible financial and moral support to the POB Trust.

"I also urge our community members to play their role and help Dr Hussain and his team in their noble cause for humanity," he said.

He said a small donation could help cure a blind person.

He also hopes the POB Trust will set up a free eye care camp in Dubai.

Find out more

For more information about POB Trust, visit www.pobtrust.org

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Last modified on Thursday, 24 February 2011 15:43
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