Vision 2020 Australia welcomes Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr’s commitment to eliminating avoidable blindness in Laos

Vision 2020 Australia has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement today of a new $1 million initiative to tackle avoidable blindness in Laos.

“Avoidable blindness is a significant global health problem which hinders development and disproportionately impacts the poor, yet much of it can be prevented or treated,” Senator Bob Carr said.

Senator Carr said the new funding would include the delivery of primary eye care, training for nurses, eye doctors and ophthalmologists, as well as provision of equipment for testing.

“Today’s announcement continues to demonstrate the Australian government’s ongoing commitment to eliminating avoidable blindness and addressing vision care in our region,” Ms Gersbeck said.

“Globally 285 million people are needlessly blind or vision impaired and 90 per cent of the world’s vision impaired people live in developing countries. A staggering 80 per cent of vision impairment is preventable or treatable,” she said.

“This funding will enable Australian NGOs to continue to deliver life-changing programs and transform lives in Laos,” she said.

“Blindness is both a cause and consequence of poverty. It impacts not only individuals but entire communities. By improving eye care and reducing preventable blindness in Asia and the Pacific, we can reduce poverty in the region,” Ms Gersbeck said.