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5/06/2018 2:26 pm  #1


A Simple Way to Improve a Billion Lives

A Simple Way to Improve a Billion Lives: Eyeglasses

It’s the biggest health crisis you’ve never heard of. Doctors, philanthropists and companies are trying to solve it.

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2018/04/17/science/00EYEGLASSES1/00EYEGLASSES1-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp


PANIPAT, India — Shivam Kumar’s failing eyesight was manageable at first. To better see the chalkboard, the 12-year-old moved to the front of the classroom, but in time, the indignities piled up.

Increasingly blurry vision forced him to give up flying kites and then cricket, after he was repeatedly whacked by balls he could no longer see. The constant squinting gave him headaches, and he came to dread walking home from school.

“Sometimes I don’t see a motorbike until it’s almost in my face,” he said.

As his grades flagged, so did his dreams of becoming a pilot. “You can’t fly a plane if you’re blind,” he noted glumly.

The fix for Shivam’s declining vision, it turns out, was remarkably simple.

He needed glasses.

More than a billion people around the world need eyeglasses but don’t have them, researchers say, an affliction long overlooked on lists of public health priorities. Some estimates put that figure closer to 2.5 billion people. They include thousands of nearsighted Nigerian truck drivers who strain to see pedestrians darting across the road and middle-aged coffee farmers in Bolivia whose inability to see objects up close makes it hard to spot ripe beans for harvest.

Then there are the tens of millions of children like Shivam across the world whose families cannot afford an eye exam or the prescription eyeglasses that would help them excel in school.

“Many of these kids are classified as poor learners or just dumb and therefore don’t progress at school,” said Kovin Naidoo, global director of Our Children’s Vision, an organization that provides free or inexpensive eyeglasses across Africa. “That just adds another hurdle to countries struggling to break the cycle of poverty.”

In an era when millions of people still perish from preventable or treatable illness, many major donors devote their largess to combating killers like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. In 2015, only $37 million was spent on delivering eyeglasses to people in the developing world, less than one percent of resources devoted to global health issues, according to EYElliance, a nonprofit group trying to raise money and bring attention to the problem of uncorrected vision.

So far, the group’s own fund-raising has yielded only a few million dollars, according to its organizers.  It has enlisted Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former Liberian president, Elaine L. Chao, the transportation secretary for the United States and Paul Polman, the chief executive of Unilever, among others, in an attempt to catapult the issue onto global development wish lists. They contend that an investment in improving sight would pay off. The World Health Organization has estimated the problem costs the global economy more than $200 billion annually in lost productivity.

“Lack of access to eye care prevents billions of people around the world from achieving their potential, and is a major barrier to economic and human progress,” said Madeleine K. Albright, the former  secretary of state who is also involved in the group.

Continued
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/05/health/glasses-developing-world-global-health.html?hpw&rref=health&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well


"On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
 

5/06/2018 5:27 pm  #2


Re: A Simple Way to Improve a Billion Lives

I am sure Trump's Administration will get right on it ! 


"Do not confuse motion and progress, A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress"
 
 

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