18 July 2011, Dhaka. Government of Bangladesh recently adopted Bangladesh ‘National Eye Care plan' responding to the Vision 2020 - "The Right to Sight" - global campaign to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. The Vision Bangladesh Project, a joint initiative of BRAC, Sightsavers and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has been specifically designed in accordance with the Government’s national eye care plan with an aim towards eliminating avoidable blindness across Bangladesh by the year 2020.
BRAC and Sightsavers in cooperation with the Government of Bangladesh have launched a pilot project to conduct surgery on 100,000 cataract patients in Sylhet division over a period of three years. The goal of working in Sylhet is to eliminate the backlog of treatable cataract blindness from Sylhet division by the year 2013. In January 2010, Vision Bangladesh began the first phase of this project with screenings and operations in Sylhet.
At a function held on Sunday, July 17 at a city hotel, the government formally signed an agreement with BRAC and Sightsavers to implement the project. The health minister Dr. AFM Ruhal Haque was present as the chief guest while Prof. Deen Md. Noorul Huq, Line Director-National Eye Care & Director-NIO&H, Faruque Ahmed, Director of BRAC Health Programme and Dr. Wahidul Islam, Country Director of Sightsavers were also present on the occasion.
The government would introduce eye care facilities under the project at 4 district hospitals and 33 upazilla health complexes in Sylhet division. Primary eye care training would also be provided to health workers of both BRAC and government community clinics through this project.