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Monday, 4 February 2013

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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 picture

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 by 2020.

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. Palitha Maheepala.

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.

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