WHO commends Lanka's visual impairment eradication programme
The World Health Organization (WHO) commended the visual impairment
eradication programme launched by Sri Lanka simultaneously to the
"Vision 2020" programme launched by the WHO.
Minister Maithripala Sirisena putting places a pair of
spectacles on a student. DGHS Dr. Maheepala is also in the
The WHO said Sri Lanka's "Vision 2020" programme is the best in the
world, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said.
The Health Ministry prepared a five year new action plan to prevent
visual impairments and blindness aiming to eradicate visual impairments
Minister Sirisena was addressing a special programme at the Sri Lanka
Foundation Institute (SLFI) where spectacles for children of low income
families in Colombo district were distributed. Over 300 students
received spectacles free.
The "Vision 2020" programme is successfully carried out under the
supervision and direction of Health Services Director General (DGHS) Dr.
Identifying the persons with blindness and other visual impairments,
providing medical treatment, granting eye lenses and spectacles free are
the main responsibilities of Sri Lanka's "Vision 2020" programme.
It spends over Rs. 30 million for these activities annually and funds
are allocated through donations. Meanwhile, Health Ministry sources said
nearly there are 500,000 cataract patients Sri Lanka and between 100,000
and 150,000 patients have cataract on both eyes.
Around 150,000 cataract patients are senior citizens and end up in
complete blindness eventually.
Fifty percent among them have been reported from under developed
rural areas from low income families, he said.
Dr Maheepala said around 160,000 Sri Lankan children suffer from
various defects in their vision.