40,000 people unnecessarily blind

40,000 people are unnecessarily blind in PNG.

Either no access to health facilities or lack of awareness are the reasons behind this sad scenario.

There are two main causes behind this treatable condition: Refractive error and cataract.

With refractive error – many do not know that all that is needed is a simple pair of glasses to see clearly.

While cataract – clouding of the lens in the eye – can be surgically removed at the earliest, and sight fully restored.

The PNG national cricket teams have been tasked to assist the Pacific International Hospital and the Laila Foundation to identify this population and reach out to them. 

“They will lobby for those visually impaired. It’s through advocacy, together, all can achieve results,” said ophthalmologist Dr Amyna Sultan, director PIH.

One goal is to achieve the UN Vision 2020 – to eliminate avoidable blindness in the country by 2020.

According to Dr Sultan, at least a player will be engaged during the medical team’s outreach camps to talk with locals.

“The message is to stress that vision counts,” she said.

The joint effort started today with some players getting their eyes tested at PIH’s eye care outlet at its Three-Mile hospital.

“Get your vision tested to know if you require a pair of glasses,” said Dr Amyna.

CPNG chairperson welcomed this partnership, adding that Cricket PNG has a duty to care for their players.

Eyes are as important in the field as anywhere else.

“Cricketers should be able to focus on the ball that reaches them within seconds, they should be able to react to the ball,” she said.

The national teams will be driving the awareness. 

Gloria Bauai