Established in 2000, Vision 2020 Australia is part of ‘VISION 2020- The Right To Sight’, a global initiative of the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
In partnership with AusAID, Vision 2020’s Global Consortium is working to prevent avoidable blindness in the Asia Pacific region. Along with helping to promote Australia’s efforts in overcoming avoidable blindness and vision impairment later this year I will be traveling to the Asia Pacific region to meet Australian’s who are working to restore sight and improve facilities and services as well as meet some of the people whose lives have been impacted by vision loss and blindness.
I am so excited to be involved in this initiative as vision impairment is obviously close to my heart. I feel so blessed to have amazing medical services available to me as I live life with low vision however this is not the case for those in the Asia Pacific region.
So why is this initiative so important you may ask? Well globally 285 million people are vision impaired and around 90% of this blindness exists in developing countries. Amazingly 80% of this is preventable or treatable. Vision impairment is both a cause and consequence of poverty and helping tackle avoidable blindness can enable people to return to work and school and contribute to their families and communities.
So far thousands of lives have been transformed particularly in countries like Cambodia and Vietnam where access to health services is difficult.
Australians are tackling blindness on a number of fronts including training eye nurses and eye doctors, developing systems to collect and use eye health data, strengthening eye health infrastructure (construction, renovation and provision of equipment), and raising awareness of eye health and available services.
Restoring a person’s sight by removing a cataract, building a new eye hospital, or providing spectacles to a vision-impaired child are all part of the work that Australians are doing through the Australian government funding to improve the quality of people’s lives in the Asia Pacific.
Please take the time to watch this incredible clip on what Vision 2020 has achieved so far and the kinds of things I will be doing when I head to the Asia Pacific later this year (after London of course!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyVgBOo9O3o
Click here to read the official media release of the announcement: http://www.vision2020australia.org.au/news-events-news.cfm?id=4171&t=/media-release-january-31-2012/
For more information on Vision 2020 or if you are interested in getting involved check out the Vision 2020 Australia website: http://www.vision2020australia.org.au/
My involvement with Vision 2020 is going to be a life changing journey and one I am so excited to be involved with. :)